Prof. Dr. Yaman Akdeniz from İstanbul Bilgi University Faculty of Law, Asst. Prof. Dr. Kerem Altıparmak from Ankara University Faculty of Political Science, and Attorney at Law Serkan Cengiz have been announced as the winners of 2016 Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Prize for Excellence in Legal Services.
2016 Columbia Global Freedom of Expression Prizes Recognize Legal Advocates in Turkey
For Excellence in Legal Services:
Professor Yaman Akdeniz, Assistant Professor Kerem Altiparmak and Attorney at Law Serkan Cengiz
After an appeal made by Akdeniz, Altiparmak and Cengiz against the order of the Ankara Criminal Court of the First Instance blocking access to YouTube was rejected, they brought a successful action in the European Court of Human Rights challenging the decision on the ground that banning access to entire websites amounts to censorship in contravention of Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Cengiz, Akdeniz, and Altiparmak persuaded the ECtHR to recognize that victims of this kind of censorship include individuals, who can legitimately claim that their right to receive and impart information and ideas, have been affected even if they are not directly targeted, establishing broad user rights for further legal challenges.
The nominations came from many regions of the world and reflected a wide range of issues and threats confronting freedom of expression globally, including social media, Internet and online surveillance, national security, political expression, defamation and press censorship.
Agnès Callamard, director of Columbia Global Freedom of Expression, emphasized that “this year, the Columbia Global Freedom of Expression prizes recognize courts and lawyers that have stood against the misuse of national security, including counter terrorism powers, to threaten the protection of journalist sources and online free speech. We celebrate judges and lawyers who have insisted that freedom of expression is indeed the touchstone of all the freedoms, particularly so in contexts of heightened insecurity, where many people are intent to destroy or curtail these very freedoms.”