Protesting Turkey's YouTube Ban

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

In May of 2008, judges in Turkey banned its citizens from accessing YouTube, under the justification that the Web site failed to obtain authorization to operate within the country. Now, two years later, according to a March 9 article by Clothilde Le Coz featured on MediaShift, newspapers in Turkey are organizing to protest what they view as a suppression of freedoms of speech.

The protest, which began in February, stemmed from two Turkish newspapers, Milliyet Cadde and Haberturk. Although there has been previous protests aimed at repealing the ban, they have been unable to attract widespread attention. The newspapers hope to overcome this precedent by publishing daily the number of days that has passed since the controversial ban.

In addition to the judge's justification that YouTube failed to obtain authorization, Turkish prosecutors and law enforcement officials have the right to "ban access to any website that incites suicide, pedophilia or drug use or that defames Kemal Ataturk (the first president of Turkey)," according to Le Coz. According to Reporters Without Borders, Turkey has wrongly applied this law to ban thousands of Web sites, including ten in 2008.

The ban has numerous political and social implications for Turkey, who currently awaits approval to join the European Union. It remains unclear whether or not the government's censorship of the internet will affect its acceptance to the union, however, many criticize Turkey's position as the 2010 "European Capitol of Culture," arguing that a "cultural" country should promote the democratic use of, rather than censor the Web.

I agree that Turkey's policies regarding YouTube and similar Web sites are not indicative of a country that values culture or freedom of speech. However, what interests me more on this subject, is how strongly journalists are fighting for access to YouTube. Clearly, what was originally seen as a means of entertainment, has become an essential tool for journalists. In my opinion, this is clearly a statement of just how much of a force YouTube, social media, and the democratic use of the Web has become in today's world.


New MSN Home Page to Feature Local News

MSN unveiled a new home page earlier today with a new feature adding local news about weather, traffic, and even local restaurants.

The MSN team says they are expecting their number of users to increase with the new feature. “In just a few months, MSN Local Edition has grown to 5 million unique users while still in preview mode, with more than 40% of those users coming back every day."

In a post by Cory Bergman, Cyrus Krohn, head of MSN's local efforts, says that most of the research done by the team showed consumers are demanding more local news.

It seems many other companies are getting the same results from this research, and lots of them are investing a lot of time and money to provide this service for users. I find it interesting that in a world where we can find news all over the world via the Internet, we still have a high demand for local news too.

Journalism students across the nation should take note of this trend. We need to remember that the little things happening around us locally can be news too.


New Journalists Found Weekly on Twitter

Twitter and their use of the "#" symbol connects you with anyone else who is tweeting about it. The idea that journalist are now using it to connect to one another is very interesting. #Journchat is a common chat is, by definition of Robert Hernandez, an ongoing conversation between jounalist, bloggers, and PR folks. It is currently held weekly on Twitter.

People have been debated whether this is actually on journalism. There was a tweet that stated that #journchat was a bad name, but good for public relations. The idea that something with this name is just for PR, seem negative. I would think that it would be more on journalism but i guess others have disagreed.


Journalists and Twitter Chat

Twitter chat is a live tweet chat created by @PRsarahevans with the intent of allowing journalists to come together chat and learn from each other on twitter. The chats are usually held weekly and revolve around a specific topic for that week. The first chat was held Feb. 10, 2010 I provieded the link to the conversation. Currently they are about three topics into their chat.

What this means is that journalists can come together to discuss topics. What it also eans is that normal people can join in because it's on twitter and input your thoughts as well. News is constantly changing and by having another area where they can discuss topics of interest with people who are interested in the topic is a great idea.


Big Changes to Social Media in 2010

Social media as we knew it changed dramatically last year, and 2010 is looking to be a year of even bigger changes.

In the final months of 2008, Ravit Lichtenberg, founder and chief strategist at, wrote a blog predicting social media changes that would occur in the year 2009. And after significant changes did take place last year, Lichtenberg decided to repeat this idea for 2010.

Lichtenberg believes that in today's world it is impossible to separate social media from the online world, so we should embrace this fact. In years to come, we will not be talking about social media, but rather what we are able to do with it.

So, in her blog on, Lichtenberg shares what she believes will be the 10 biggest ways social media as we know it will change in 2010. Here are a few examples.

1. Social media will be taken over on a mobile level.

It is no secret that everything is going mobile. Smart phones have almost turned the average cell phone into dinosaurs, allowing users to access the internet easier than ever before. The iPhone accounts for about 33% of mobile web traffic, and the IDC predicts the number of mobile web users will hit one billion by 2010. As mobile access becomes more and more common in the years to come, our phones will be even more commonly used as a social media tool.

2. Online-Offline Integration will hit, big.

It is becoming freakishly easy to locate people these days, but many people seem to want to be found. With tools like Yelp's latest geo-tagging enables application and Twitter application's like "Twitter360," social media will allow users to pin-point information about themselves and even where they are located, helping others to find relevant information and people depending on their locations.

3. (and I quote) "Women Will Rule Social Media"

This may have to be my personal favorite. Lichtenberg claims that in 2010 women will be more dominant than they have been in a long time. Lets face the facts: right now, women are making 75% of the buying decisions at home and 85% of all consumer purchases. Also, social networks have at least 50% female members, and women of ages 35-55 are the ones who make up the fastest-growing population on Facebook. With the role of women growing rapidly online and offline, it seems that the future of social media may be held in the hands of a female.

This may seem like a trending topic, since it is not much of a surprise that there will be changes in the future, but these changes are especially important as social media becomes such a necessary tool in our lives. It is important that we are aware of these changes taking place, not only in 2010 but all the time, and know how to use the vast amount of social media available to us.


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