Russia » Politics

Internet censorship: the final gulp of freedom

During the past six months there's been a passionate debate regarding the need for censorship within the Russian net.

Obviously, those in support of the limitations control the overall tone of the discussion. Governor of Moscow Yuri Luzhkov for instance, during the official award ceremony in the field of journalism which took place earlier this week, has stated that in his opinion “it is necessary to increase one's responsibility for placing information on the world wide web,” reports Interfax.

At the same time, according to him, instead of limiting one's freedom, it is important to regulate by means of increasing one’s responsibility. Luzhkov has also noted that nowadays “Internet is seriously ill”, which according to him can be seen from numerous publications promoting drugs and violence.

The argument of the governor of Moscow has been supported by deputy head of federal agency for press and mass communications (Rospechat, former Ministry of Press) Andrei Romanchenko. During his Wednesday's speech at the conference entitled “Information security of Russia in global information age,” he proposed to create a unified system of the so-called “content filtering” in Russia.

“As far as content filtering of the Internet is concerned, State’s politics intends to offer the public its services to protect them against harmful and unlawful content,” stated Romanchenko as reported by Interfax. According to his statements noted to “Leta.Ru”, this concerns the development of a special program, which would automatically bloc access to sites containing immoral and/or unlawful information.

Creators of the site “Stikhi.Ru” (Poems.Ru) have already forestalled the event proposing the initiation of self-censorship online. The document entitled “The directive of topic limitations of literary works published on various Internet sources of the Russia National Literature Web.” The first clause of the document reads: “It is not allowed to publish literary works and forum postings on the Web-resources of Russian National Literary Web concerning the following subjects: special military operations of Russian troops in Chechnya (since 1991 up until 2004), terrorist acts against citizens of the Russian Federation as well as resistance of separate groups of Russian citizens in regards to various laws of the Russian Federation and president's decrees.”

One of the creators of the project “Stikhi.Ru” Dmitry Kravchuk comments: “Lately, we’ve been hearing about the importance of regulating the Internet from states’ authorities and politicians alike. We simply wanted to forestall the situation in order to avoid running into problems in future… Clearly, we will be unable to scan and filter the entire content momentarily. That is why the decision has been reached to take action first before the government does…and form a model within our site for now.”   

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