Russia briefly puts YouTube on blacklist, admits 'error'

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Moscow, Nov 22: Russia included YouTube in its recently-created list of banned websites for a short while yesterday but the media and Twitter users slammed the move, forcing the authorities to issue a hasty clarification.

Gennady Onishchenko, head of the country's consumer protection agency, told local news agencies that the popular video-sharing site has not been blacklisted. The agency only intended to ban 22 controversial clips like the ones detailing how a person can commit suicide, he added.

The communications ministry averred that YouTube had appeared on the blacklist for a few minutes due to a "technical error". Google.Inc, owner of YouTube, later assured that all legal restrictions will be complied with.

On Nov 1, a law aimed at banning sites which promote suicide or have content relating to drug use and child pornography came into effect in the country. When the Russian lower house passed the bill in Jul, Wikipedia observed that it "will lead to the creation of a Russian analogue to China's Great Firewall".

While supporters of the law argued that suicide manuals and websites containing details about illicit drugs as well as paedophilia need to be blocked, those who do not agree with the concept of blacklist rued that the Kremlin is trying to curb the freedom of expression.

Russian search engine Yandex and administrators of several sites have already registered their strong protest against the new law. They fear that its misuse will result in internet censorship besides suppression of free speech.

Earlier this month, the online encyclopedia Lurkmore was banned as the federal drugs control agency discovered articles on marijuana in its pages. However, Lurkmore was removed from the blacklist after the encyclopedia deleted the objectionable content.

OneIndia News 

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