Media watchdog to target reposts of banned info on social networks – report

RIA Novosti/Alexandr Kryazhev
Russian internet watchdog Roskomnadzor has announced that it would not only block banned data on the internet at prosecutors’ request, but also find and block all of its copies in various social networks.

The plans are included in the draft instruction prepared by Roskomnadzor and revealed on Tuesday by mass circulation daily Izvestia. The authors of the document emphasize that its primary purpose is to quickly neutralize the calls for mass unrest and illegal mass events that can be quite effective when communicated over the internet.

Currently Russian prosecutors have to file in a separate request for each example of illegal data they discover in the web, asking Roskomnadzor to block the page until its further fate is decided by a court.The new instruction introduces constant monitoring of websites and social networks with the objective of blocking not only the initial illegal data but also all of its copies and reposts.

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The agency spokesman told Izvestia that the need for the new procedure arose after repeated requests from the Prosecutor General’s Office to combat the copies of certain extremist calls. The newspaper also suggested, quoting an unnamed source “close to prosecutors” that the move was prompted by the internet calls for an unsanctioned rally in support of popular blogger and opposition politician Aleksey Navalny. The rally was planned on January 15 - the day when a Moscow court planned to announce the sentences for Navalny and his brother within a corruption case involving the international cosmetics giant Yves Rocher. Eventually, the sentence was announced on December 30 and Navalny’s allies canceled their plans.

A representative of Russia’s most popular social network, VKontakte, told reporters that his company was ready to comply with any legal demand that came from law enforcers, but emphasized that its specialists needed a full list of web links that had to be blocked.