A Russian court located in the far eastern city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Russia had ordered the Russian ISP Rosnet to block access to 5 websites including YouTube. This ruling which is applicable to Khabarovsk region only was made because apparently You Tube hosted a video entitled “Russia for Russians” which is found by many as an extremist video.
“Russia for Russians” is apparently a slogan of hatred against a multi-ethnic society in Russia. This video was added to the justice ministry’s federal list of banned extremist materials in a separate court decision made in Samara Region back in November.
Aside from the much popular YouTube website, Rosnet was also ordered to block three other online libraries that were found to have hosted some writing about Adolf Hitler, as well as Webarchive.org which is a website that archives deleted web pages.
This is actually not the first time that websites like these have been banned. Countries like Brazil, China, Iran, Morocco, Thailand, Turkey and Saudi Arabia were among the few countries which also blocked access to websites such as YouTube because of its videos that show untoward incidents such as police brutality, protests made against leaders of the government and other scandals which are immoral or sexual in nature that these countries would not want their citizens to see.
However, Aleksandr Ermakov, owner of Russian ISP Rosnett, is very much affected with this court decision. He stated that even if they did not violate a certain Russian Law; they were still forced to close down these websites to prevent users from watching those videos. Rosnet tried their best to fight the ban by forwarding several solutions such as ways of filtering illegal extremist videos without the need of blocking the whole website itself but the Russian Court did not accept and just dismissed their suggestions.
Google, the owner of YouTube, finds this court decision to block access to the whole YouTube site to be a violation against the freedom of information of the Russian citizens as stated in Russia’s constitution. A lot of bloggers have also been expressing their opinions and condemn this ban made against these websites.
Some believed that instead of imposing the ban on YouTube, it may better to just contact these websites directly and request them to just remove those extremist and offensive materials from their site instead of blocking the whole site.
It looks like a better idea than a total ban against the website since YouTube has a lot of videos to offer other than those extremist videos this Russian Court has been referring to. It seems that the Russian courts must have gone too far just to protect their ethnic diversity with this court decision.