Latest Russian Censorship Move: Banning Internet Memes Using Photos Of Celebrities

from the just-putin-it-out-there dept

For a while now, Techdirt has been tracking the continuing efforts of the Russian government to rein in the Internet, at the cost of squeezing much of the life out of it. As an article on Global Voices reports, this has now reached ridiculous levels:

Russian censors have determined that one of the most popular forms of Internet meme is illegal. According to Roskomnadzor, the Kremlin’s media watchdog, it’s now against the law to use celebrities’ photographs in a meme, “when the image has nothing to do with the celebrity’s personality.”

Roskomnadzor’s statement is the result of a decision by a court in Moscow, which decided that a particular photo meme violated the privacy of Russian singer Valeri Syutkin — the Global Voices post has the fascinating details. Although no new law is involved, Roskomnadzor’s power is such that it is able to make these kinds of rule changes — and enforce them. Along with a ban on the use of celebrities’ photographs in what are termed “image macros,” the new ruling also forbids the creation of parody accounts or sites (original in Russian.) The key problem with the image macro part is the following:

Roskomnadzor’s vague new policy threatens to do more than crack down on potentially defamatory juxtaposition, however. By saying it is illegal to add celebrities’ images to memes that “have nothing to do with the celebrity’s personality,” the Kremlin could be opening the door to banning a whole genre of absurdist online humor.

Even if the policy is not rigorously enforced, it could have a chilling effect on the Russian online space, already under pressure because of previous censorship moves. And that’s probably precisely what the authorities are seeking to achieve here. After all, when it comes to Russian celebrities’ photographs with witty captions, what name springs to mind?

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Comments on “Latest Russian Censorship Move: Banning Internet Memes Using Photos Of Celebrities”

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21 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

They are not particularly communistic. It is more fascistic in nature. The policies and debate-climate around muslims in Russia and the policies of protecting russians living abroad are disturbing and generally the political situation we see there is close to the ideals behind national syndicalism, which later developed into fascism.

Anonymous Coward says:

IT went from a communist state to a neo fascist state.,
where most of the states assets were sold off cheap,
drilling rights etc were sold off to cronys,or oligarchs very cheap .
OF course even if you are rich if you criticise the government you,ll be arrested or have your assets seized from you.
A Communist state at least holds on to land , state assets
for the people ,like in cuba ,

where most land is owned by the government .

OR like china you are free to make money ,
as long as you dont get involved in politics or anti
goverment activity.
Most russians don,t know whats going on,as most tv stations ,big newspaper,s are government controlled .
AS the economy was booming until 2 years ago ,
most people were not too concerned about government corruption and bribery .

mr naijaname (user link) says:

A Communist state at least holds on to land , state
assets
for the people ,like in cuba ,
where most land is owned by the government .
OR like china you are free to make money ,
as long as you dont get involved in politics or anti
goverment activity.
Most russians don,t know whats going on,as most
tv stations ,big newspaper,s are government
controlled . Celebrities Sadimir Putin is a particularly poignaimt one. Poor
Vlad the Internet impaler.

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