YouTube Ban Draws Ire

A Russian court’s decision earlier this week to ban YouTube in a Russian town because of an extremist video is earning harsh critism from bloggers and activists. The Guardian reports:

Anton Nosik, Russia’s leading internet guru, condemned the decision. “The level of crassness in this court ruling is typical of legal proceedings concerning the internet in Russia,” he said. Google, the owner of YouTube, said the ruling violated Russians’ constitutional right to freedom of information.

Many bloggers also decried the ban, warning it could be a slippery slope to tighter censorship across the country.

“I can imagine it now,” wrote Ghost82 on LiveJournal. “Russia in 2015, YouTube is banned everywhere. In search of a gulp of air, people travel to the border with Georgia where they will sit with their laptops and pay unimaginable sums to connect to the internet via powerful Wi-Fi transmitters for a taste of depraved western civilisation.”

Alexander tweeted on RuTvit: “YouTube has been given to understand that Russia, Pakistan and North Korea have much in common.”

Reporters Without Borders denounced the decision:

“This unilateral decision, blocking entire websites instead of targeting the offending web pages, violates freedom of information and could affect all of Russia’s Internet users,” Reporters Without Borders said. “Russia’s laws on extremism are much criticised because they are used arbitrarily and because they can have such dire consequences as the blocking of independent websites.”