Editorial: innocence of users
19.09.12 15:06 By Gazeta.ru editorial
On Tuesday the head of the Russian Ministry of Communications, Nikolay Nikiforov, posted on his Twitter feed that once the new law "blacklisting" offensive sites comes into force on November 1, Russians may lose access to YouTube video sharing because it hosts a trailer for the controversial anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims."
"Jokes are jokes, yet on November 3-5, because of this film, YouTube could be completely blocked in Russia," wrote the minister under the username nnikiforov.
So where are the links between the American company Google which owns YouTube, the movie which was filmed in the USA, and the Russian Internet? The thing is, before Nikiforov's Twitter message, the Russian Prosecutor General's office had already submitted a petition to the court with a demand the film the "Innocence of Muslims" be recognised as extremist. Even before that, Roskomnadzor, Russia's Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications, recommended that internet operators block access to the anti-Muslim movie trailer for Russian Internet users.
It seems that the Russian authorities
The Prosecutor General's office had no reasons to submit a petition against the anti-Muslim trailer. The movie did not trigger any mass protests or acts of violence. There haven't even been any political declarations about it. Russia has nothing to do with the scandalous movie.
To deprive Russians of the world's largest video website because of one movie trailer is ridiculous, it being no worse than many other films that abuse either Christians or Muslims.
Moreover, by inflating the scandal around the "Innocence of Muslims," the Prosecutor General's office has only served to advertise the movie in Russia.
In general, the reaction of "the injured party" in this situation seems quite bizarre. Those who declared themselves "abused" by the punk prayer of the Pussy Riot band in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior watched the video of the performance on YouTube. Why did these believers watch the punk prayer on YouTube if they knew in advance it would be "hurtful"? Did they want to feel sad? The same thing goes for the "Innocence of Muslims." If Islam believers know that the movie is anti-Muslim, why watch it?
As for YouTube itself, as an independent video hosting website, it has the right to publish any video with certain age restrictions.
If a country prohibits a video on its territory, YouTube is obliged to delete it. But the ban of one video should not lead to closing of the entire website. But Russia how has a ink-not-yet-dry law covering "blacklisted websites" which comes into force November 1. It will enable the authorities to close any website that contains "information harmful for children," a definition which seems pretty vague.
Now the authorities are using any excuse to limit freedom on the Internet, which is currently the least censored information source in Russia.
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