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Internet Censorship Is Getting Worse

Published: December 9, 2013 (Issue # 1789)


Schoolchildren in the city of Krasnodar will not be able to watch a puppet theater performance of Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute" this year. Bureaucrats at the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service put an 18+ label on the show. The reason: In the opera, one of the heroines wants to kill herself.

Age restrictions on access to information, including Internet sites, have been in place for more than a year in the country. But until now they had not been applied to classical works of literature and art. Soon this might change. On Dec. 4, the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service presented a project called "The Concept of Informational Security for Children." Among its stipulations is a ban that would keep minors from watching on the Internet classical works of art that include images of the nude body in any form, and anything that might be considered erotic.

Censorship would also extend to works of literature in which the characters use alcohol and drugs or commit crimes, or in works where there are "statements destructive to the social institution of the family."

A more radical proposal in the project forbids "the depiction or description of mishaps, accidents or catastrophes" in television and radio news shows before 9 p.m. If this becomes law, daytime news shows will revert to the Soviet standard of "all day, all good news."

Teenage morality has become the idee fixe of lawmakers and bureaucrats for the last year or so. They passed a homophobic law forbidding "homosexual propaganda" supposedly to "protect children" and are using the same argument to step up censorship on the Internet.

Censorship on the Russian Internet has existed for a long time and is handled by several agencies: the Interior Ministry, the Federal Security Service, the Federal Drug Control Service and even the Federal Consumer Protection Service. These agencies draw up a list of sites to be blocked by the providers. These lists contain thousands of sites and pages.

A glance at the list of "extremist" materials on the Justice Ministry site shows that "care for children" is a smokescreen for politics. You can find just about anything on the list, from "Mein Kampf" and videos of Islamic fundamentalists to sites of the Jehovah's Witnesses, unregistered political parties and opposition blogs.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, July 12


Russian culture will be the focus of today’s Neva Rus Festival. Starting at noon, St. Petersburg’s 300th Anniversary Park will be a venue for a round-dance master class, hand-to-hand fighting, folk music concerts and a traditional handicraft fair.



Visit today’s ShubaShorti urban flea market, where everyone can buy, exchange or just have for free various vintage knick-knackery, clothes and books. The event starts at noon at the Uppsala Circus at 44 Sverdlovskaya Naberezhnaya.



The 3rd International Opera for All Festival opens this evening with a free performance on Cathedral Square in the Peter and Paul fortress at 7 p.m.



The Tsunami Picnic Car Festival will allow visitors to see hundreds of exclusive cars outdoors and to watch races featuring professional drivers. The event will take place in the town of Sestroretsk at noon.


Coffee lovers will be able to try hundreds of different kinds of coffee and enjoy baristas’ shows as well as live music during Coffee Day in the Cultural Space Salon at 11 Bolshoi Kazachy pereulok.



Sunday, July 13


Starcon, a festival dedicated to science fiction and innovation, plans to lure visitors by exposing them to the best video games and comics as well as holding lectures on new and exciting technologies. The event will take place at Lenexpo, 103 Bolshoi prospect on Vasilievsky Island, at noon. The entrance fee is 850 rubles ($23).



Monday, July 14


More than 30 young artists will present their work including sculptures, painted skateboards and graffiti, during Boards & Paint, which will run through Aug. 3 at Loft Project Etagi, 74 Ligovsky Prospekt.



Tuesday, July 15


Be amazed by 50 life-sized moving dinosaur models at the Dinosaurs Show, the world’s largest such exhibition, which will be at Lenexpo on Vasilievsky Island until Sept. 21.



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