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March 19, 2013

Russian watchdog hits out at Google over ‘suicide’ videos

The watchdog said the majority of websites were banned in Russia for posting harmful videos.

By CBR Staff Writer

Russian consumer rights watchdog, Rospotrebnadzor, criticised Google and YouTube saying that they are more concerned about ensuring freedom of information than protecting user’s from prohibited information or harmful content.

The watchdog’s statement follows a lawsuit filed by YouTube against Rospotrebnadzor for its decision to block a video, which was posted in January last year fir featuring alleged harmful material.

The Moscow Arbitration Court has started a preliminary hearing into the case.

Rospotrebnadzor said Google Russia and YouTube have stated their position based solely on a threat to the freedom of access to information on the Internet.

Citing an increase in teenagers suicides, the watchdog said the majority of websites were banned because they contained information on how to commit suicide.

Rospotrebnadzor added that to date 1,164 websites have been blocked of the total 1,309 sites examined.

In November 2012, Russia introduced a new internet blacklist law which is aimed at protecting children from unsafe content by enabling the authorities to take sites offline.

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The new law enables authorities to blacklist and force websites to turn offline without a trial and demand internet service providers (ISP) and web firms block content it believes offensive.

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