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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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Times Talk

ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, Apr. 24


Learn more about Denmark during the Danish Business Delegation’s visit to SPIBA this evening starting at 5:30 p.m. at the Danish Culture Institute. Danish Consul general Klaus Sorensen will be in attendance and the buffet following a presentation on Danish companies in Russia will be the perfect opportunity to network with the assembled businessmen.


AmCham’s Human Resources Committee Meeting is scheduled for 9 a.m. this morning in their St. Petersburg office. Check their website for more details.



Friday, Apr. 25


Light Music presents the main events for their Cultural Kitchen project at Loft-Project Etagi today. A B2B event that focuses on Finnish food, arts, travel, music and design, the evening will conclude with a dinner by chef Jyrki Tsutsunen and dancing to music by Aino Venna. The event, which began yesterday with presentations by tourism and cultural institutions, concludes today with a preview of Finland’s Flow festival and other musical events. Invitations are available from www.culturalkitchen.fi.



Saturday, Apr. 26


At 6 p.m. this evening, stylist Liliana Modigliani offers 50 simple ways to up your style quotient with beauty tips at the Galeria shopping center on Ligovsky Prospekt. The event is part of the final day of the shopping mall’s Fashion Saturday sales event, this week focusing on top brands located on the ground floor as well as presentation from fashion experts on sprucing up your spring look.



Sunday, Apr. 27


Families shouldn’t miss Childhood Planet 2014, the trade fair that started yesterday and concludes today at LenExpo. Not only will goods and services be provided for children and families but the event hopes to promote Russian brands and eco-friendly products using the latest technology available in the childcare industry.



Monday, Apr. 28


The Hotel Indigo will be the site of SPIBA’s Acting Skills for HR and Other Managers master class this morning starting at 9 a.m. The event will begin with coffee before moving on to the class itself and conclude with a tour of the recently opened hotel. Confirm attendance by Apr. 24.



Tuesday, Apr. 29


Improve your English at the British Book Center’s Interactive English Lesson tonight at 6 p.m. Students at pre-intermediate and intermediate levels are welcome discuss topics that are selected to help learners master the more difficult aspects of English grammar and vocabulary.