[AfrICANN-discuss] Russian court orders provider to ban YouTube

Mamadou LO alfamamadou at hotmail.com
Fri Jul 30 17:34:04 SAST 2010

Russian court orders provider to ban YouTube


Censorship central


Russian internet provider Rosnet has refused to ban access to five websites including YouTube, as instructed by a Russian court. 

A court in the far eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, which is the only place the order applies, told Rosnet to limit access to the websites on the grounds they express extreme views, but the internet provider has appealed against the ruling. 

According to The Moscow Times, Alexander Yermakov, president of Rosnet, branded the judge ‘incompetent' and vowed to fight the decision ‘till the end, till the Constitutional Court'. 

Rosnet was reportedly ordered to block three online libraries, as well as YouTube and Webarchive.org, which lists deleted web pages. A nationalist video called ‘Russia to Russians' was ruled extremist and led to the YouTube ban.

In a bid to fight the ban, Rosnet reportedly said it put forward several solutions to filter illegal extremist content without blocking the whole site, but the court dismissed the suggestions.

Unsurprisingly Google, fresh from its censorship fight with China has blasted the Russian court's decision.

Google Russia's communications and public affairs manager, Alla Zabrovskaya, told Reuters: "This (ruling) is an obvious violation of the right to obtain information. Due to just one video clip, which is mentioned in the court's ruling, the talk is about blocking the entire site which channels a huge stream of information. This is a huge volume of information which may now be unavailable to users in this city."

Kremlin opponents and Russian human rights protestors have previously raised concerns authorities could try and gag internet media outlets on the grounds of it portraying ‘extreme' views.

The Moscow Times said: "The internet is widely recognised as the last uncensored media in Russia, and the ruling nudges the country towards the likes of Iran and Pakistan, which have blocked YouTube."

Interestingly, more Russians are reportedly posting video appeals via YouTube to Russia's prime minister Vladimir Putin, highlighting cases of corruption among the Russian authorities. The country's president, Dmitry Medvedev has his own channel on YouTube so it is not known whether the court ruling would prohibit the president's posts as the Kremlin has not commented on the ruling.


Source : http://channel.hexus.net/content/item.php?item=25740

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