Is Russia’s YouTube Video Ban A Tool For Censorship By The Government?

by
Fatimah Mazhar
Google has filed a lawsuit against a Russian federal agency’s ban on one of its hosted videos on YouTube. The video in question is a make-up tutorial video that demonstrates how a blunt razor, glue and fake blood can make it look like an actual suicide attempt.

YouTube

Image: Wikipedia

Google has filed a lawsuit against a Russian federal agency’s ban on one of its hosted videos on YouTube. The video in question is a make-up tutorial video that demonstrates how a blunt razor, glue and fake blood can make it look like an actual suicide attempt.

Russia’s Internet blacklist is a database containing URLs, domain names and IP addresses of websites that may contain child pornography, drug abuse and production, suicide advocacy or any information that is prohibited by Russian law to be circulated.

However, the blacklist has been met by a lot of criticism by the Russian Internet industry. It can block whole domains when only a certain part of a website contains illegal or blacklisted material.

Read More: To Ban Or Not To Ban: Banning Websites & Others In The Internet Age

Activists in Russia have long condemned the creation of the internet blacklist and consider it as a barrier on freedom of speech and expression and a government tool for practicing censorship. These claims were made after two popular sites, 4chan- a discussion platform and Lurkmore which was a Wikipedia style site- were banned and added to the blacklist.

Human Rights Activists and supporters of free speech think that there should be certain amendments in the way the federal agencies ban internet websites because it might just be a way of enforcing Soviet Union style censorship in the name of child protection and health.

YouTube blocked the video before the entire video streaming site could’ve been blocked in Russia but filed a case against Rospotrebnadzor, the country’s federal agency for consumer protection and public health and safety just to clarify the blacklist’s rules and boundaries on the basis of which the video clip was banned.

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