UN calls on Turkey to stop blocking Twitter

UN calls on Turkey to stop blocking Twitter
A man wears a mask showing the Turkish Prime Minister during a rally in Istanbul on March 23, 2014. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan rallied hundreds of thousands of supporters on Sunday, dismissing accusations of intolerance by Western and domestic critics. "I don't care who it is. I'm not listening," he said to cheers.

GENEVA - The United Nations on Tuesday called on Turkey to stop blocking Twitter, saying Ankara could be breaching its international rights obligations by banning the social networking site.

"We are concerned that the blocking of access to Twitter on the 20th of March by the telecommunications agency may be incompatible with Turkey's international human rights obligations," said Rupert Coville, spokesman for the UN high commissioner for human rights.

"The same rights that people have offline must also be protected online. So we would urge the authorities to rescind the blocking of Twitter," Colville told reporters.

Turkey's telecommunications authority blocked access to the US social network last week under orders from Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, after opposition members used it to post telephone recordings implicating him in a major corruption scandal.

Colville said that the UN's rights office had already sounded the alarm in February over Turkish legislation that enabled the Twitter ban.

Such measures fly in the face of freedom of expression and right to privacy, he said Tuesday.

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