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Wednesday, 30 May, 2001, 18:55 GMT 19:55 UK
Turkish internet bill raises hackles
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By Firdevs Robinson in Ankara

The debate in Turkey on a controversial draft broadcasting law is brewing, with strong criticism for the measure coming from outside parliament.

The proposed radio and television law would make it compulsory for internet portals and websites to be registered, on paper and in person, with the authorities.

Foreigners would have to get permission from the foreign and interior ministries before venturing into cyberspace.

Every site would have to have an editor aged over 21 and with a minimum of a high school diploma.

These editors would be obliged by law to send two printed copies of their pages daily to the regional prosecutor's office.

Opposition

The joint platform of internet organisations in Turkey opposes the bill and calls it censorship.

They accept there is a need to establish a legal framework and to regulate the internet but opponents believe this cannot be achieved by curbing freedoms and creating more bureaucracy.

Internet portals say they would take their domains outside the country and these new measures would slow Turkey's development as a modern information society.

There are an estimated four to five million internet users in Turkey and this number doubles every year.

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