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Turkey Tested New Censorship Powers After Istanbul Blast

  • ‘Disinformation bill’ measures are widely used for first time
  • New law gives Turkey more control over news flow, social media
A Turkish policeman secures the area after an explosion in Istanbul, on Nov. 13.

A Turkish policeman secures the area after an explosion in Istanbul, on Nov. 13.

Photographer: Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Images

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In the aftermath of a deadly bombing in central Istanbul, the Turkish government demonstrated its newly enhanced power to cut off flows of information and to assert state control over the public debate. 

Social media services including Twitter, Instagram and YouTube were quickly made inaccessible after the blast on Sunday, and blocked until the following morning. Broadcasters reporting on the incident abruptly shifted to other topics as RTUK, the media watchdog, rapidly imposed a broadcast ban.