Media watchdog warns against Turkish Internet bill

ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — An international journalism watchdog has warned that a draft Internet controls bill moving through Parliament would worsen Turkey's "dismal" record on press freedoms.

The government-proposed legislation would allow Turkey's telecommunications authority to block websites deemed to violate privacy without a prior court decision. It would also force Internet providers to keep users' data stored for two years and make it available if requested by authorities.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said Tuesday that Internet freedom has been deteriorating steadily in Turkey and that the bill would "compound" the problem. The government has rejected accusations that the bill amounts to censorship, insisting it would protect privacy.

The measure comes as Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government is fighting a corruption probe targeting people close to him.

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