Russia Uses New Internet Censorship Bill To Silence Prominent Reporters Who Criticized The Government

from the for-the-children! dept

Last summer, Russia passed an internet blacklist bill which required ISPs to censor certain sites. At the time, of course, Russian officials insisted it would be used to “protect the children” from “harmful information,” including child porn, suicide instructions, and pro-drug propaganda. They insisted it would not go beyond that. Of course, within weeks, a popular blogging site, LiveJournal, was censored, followed by the Russian equivalent of Wikipedia.

And now they’re targeting journalists as well. Access is reporting that added to the blacklist has been a site used by prominent free speech / civil liberties reporters in Russia who have been critical of the government. The government claims (of course) that they put the site on the blacklist due to “child pornography elements,” but Access points out that rather than just removing such content, they’ve blocked access to the entire site, which is notable given the usage by critical reporters.

At least two prominent journalists host their blogs on LJRossia.org: Andrei Malgin, a journalist who has been very critical of the government and hosts a mirror site at LJR, and Vladimir Pribylovsky, who has been targeted for publishing a large database of government misdeeds and for disclosing official documents that expose corruption.

Once you’ve set up tools that enable censorship, you know they’ll eventually be used for censorship.

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Comments on “Russia Uses New Internet Censorship Bill To Silence Prominent Reporters Who Criticized The Government”

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22 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

democracy has become a dirty word and more so-called democratic countries are following the same path as Russia and other similar-minded countries. the reason is obvious. governments are doing whatever they can to stifle criticism. they are doing whatever they can to remove what freedom and privacy people have left. they are doing whatever they can to obtain and maintain complete surveillance on the ordinary people (the rich, the famous and the powerful are, of course, exempt!). they are doing whatever they can to stop people in one country from communicating with those in another country, particularly when there are conflicts happening. yet all these ‘democratic countries’ condemn Russia, China, N.Korea etc, whilst doing the exact same thing, ruling with as iron a grip as they can get away with!!

Ninja (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s illegal. It’s very, very different from being censored. I’m not sure of what was seen in that platform but regardless shutting the entire site down because one or two users uploaded is akin to shutting down a road because one or two drivers have been caught trafficking drugs.

You seem to be confused about intentional and accidental censoring. For instance Dajaz1 was censored accidentally (and the US failed to fix it when it was thrown in their face). Regardless of what kind of censorship goes on the simple fact that the tools can cause censorship should serve as deterrent to putting such tools in place.

Also, Wikipedia is not a good example here 😉

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Child porn has been censored in the US for years. We’ve managed to not censor wikipedia.

Very, very different. The content is illegal and the government can go after and shut down the actual content. They cannot and do not have a blacklist blocking access. In fact, when they tried that, it lost in court.

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