Articles in foreign media

Google Limits Free Speech

Category: Action Alert
Published: 13 August 2009
Written by Administrator
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Turkish Community, friends of Turkey and defenders of free speech are called upon to act against Google's violation this essential human right. Please read the action alert from Turkish Coalition of America below: 

 

The Turkish Coalition of America for months maintained Google Ads for its website, www.turkishcoalition.org, without protest or incident.  But after an aggressive campaign by an Armenian American group Google suddenly and without a chance for the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA) to respond suspended the ads saying that they violated its “Anti” policy.  Google also said that it could not accept ads for websites that, “suggest revisions to history.”

The notion that there is a Google-accepted version of history is extraordinarily disturbing.

The TCA educates the general public about matters of concern to Turkish Americans.  Neither it nor its website are against any person or group. The TCA does, however, advocate that the narrative of the Ottoman-Armenian conflict as propagated by the Armenian Diaspora is one-sided and ignores evidence of Muslim suffering, some of it at the hands of Armenian revolutionaries.  The TCA supports this view with extensive texts, pictures and links available on its website.  Much of the material is from Armenian sources boosting about their armed activities. TCA web site is not hostile toward or advocates against any individuals or groups.

Google has failed to distinguish between advocating an idea in an historic controversy, which the TCA does, and advocating against a group, which the TCA does not.  This notion is strikes at the very core of the First Amendment free speech rights.

Please let Google know that you disagree with its discriminatory suspension of Turkish Coalition of America ’s ads and therefore their flouting of cherished principles of fairness and free expression.

Below is a sample letter, or write your own.  We strongly encourage you to send your letter to:

Eric E. Schmidt, Ph.D.
Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Google, Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Although less effective, you may also send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or fax a copy of your letter to 650.253.0001.

SAMPLE LETTER

Dear Google:

I am a Google user and have visited the website of the Turkish Coalition of America (TCA), www.turkishcoalition.org , which I have found interesting and informative.

I am writing to urge you to restore the TCA’s Google Ads, which you suspended based only on an aggressive campaign that lied about the nature and intention of the organization.  The TCA seeks only to educate people on issues of concern to Turkish Americans.  It does not advocate against any person or group.

Certain people and groups disagree with the TCA’s position on the historical controversy surrounding the interpretation of Ottoman-Armenian history.  But this does not mean that the TCA is advocating against these people or groups.  To make this interpretation, as Google has arbitrarily done, is to grossly misunderstand the nature and value of free speech in the United States.  As U.S. Supreme Court Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in United States v. Schwimmer, 279 U.S. 644 (1929), “[B]ut, if there is any principle of the Constitution that more imperatively calls for attachment than any other, it is the principle of free thought -- not free thought for those who agree with us, but freedom for the thought that we hate.”

Moreover, to prevent advertising for websites, “that suggest revision to history” is also misguided and against your own core values.  It suggests that there is a Google-accepted version of history, which is an extraordinarily disturbing notion.  Even the President of the American Historical Association has recognized that, “There is no single, eternal, and immutable ‘truth’ about past events and their meaning. The unending quest of historians for understanding the past—that is, ‘revisionism’—is what makes history vital and meaningful.” (James McPherson, Revisionist Historians, September 2003.)

Time and again you have told the U.S. government that “freedom of expression is at the core of everything [you] do.”  Yet you must practice what you preach.

The majority of what the TCA does and what it represents on its website cannot be considered controversial.  But insofar as it wades into the controversy over Ottoman-Armenian history, please understand that it is a far greater evil to stunt debate and curtail speech than it is to advocate for a broader interpretation of an historical controversy, even if that offends some who believe differently.

Don’t give in to the protests of a vocal few.  Do the right thing and stand up for our cherished and hard won principles of fairness and free expression.

Sincerely,