The organisation, Roskomnadzor, which is responsible for all internet control in Russia has called on the popular website Reddit to take down a thread which they claim to be about growing magic mushrooms. The offending thread, has been highlighted as it promotes an illegal activity, something that Roskomnadzor looks to target across the internet and attempts to block access to them from within Russia. The organisation, which is able to block website access without court rulings, have attempted to contact the administrators at Reddit asking the offending thread to be closed.
With Russia threatening to censor Reddit, it isn’t the first time that Roskomnadzor has restricted access across the whole of Russia. It has previously attempted, and succeeded, in blocking a variety of different websites it deems as inappropriate. Back in 2013, Roskomnadzor actually blocked Wikipedia and prevented anyone from viewing the informative website after it contained content on cannabis, as Roskomnadzor maintain a strong anti-drug stance. Other instances of censorship have come recently, with various videos on YouTube being removed due to offending material, as well as an ever growing list of censored websites, including The Pirate Bay, Wayback Machine and certain news sites, also opposition sites of the Kremlin are blocked, a stance many feel undermine democracy and free speech.
After unsuccessful contacting the admin team at Reddit, Roskomnadzor have taken to one of the biggest social media websites in Russia, VK.com and publicly called for the Reddit team to respond. If they don’t. then Roskomnadzor has threatened to block the entire website for the whole country, a consequence that will surely be opposed. But unfortunately for the citizens of Russia, Roskomnadzor have that power with very little chance of opposition. Reddit, on the other hand, have recently changed their policies in relation to closing threads. No longer can a ‘subreddit’, a thread focussed on a particular topic, be closed without real reason, just on the back of complaints. Only actual illegal activity are grounds for removal, not the discussion of such topics.
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