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Dublin: 7°C Sunday 11 April 2021

Russia 'may block YouTube' over anti-Islamic film

Russia’s communications minister says laws coming into effect in November could see YouTube blocked over the controversial movie.

A screengrab from the controversial 'Innocence of Muslims' film which has caused protests throughout the Arab world.
A screengrab from the controversial 'Innocence of Muslims' film which has caused protests throughout the Arab world.
Image: YouTube screengrab

A RUSSIAN MINISTER has discussed the possibility of using a controversial new law on media control to block all Russian access to YouTube over the controversial anti-Islam film which has sparked waves of protests throughout the Muslim world.

Nikolai Nikiforov, the communications and mass media minister in the cabinet of Dmitry Medvedev, made the suggestion on Twitter – saying laws which take effect in early November would give the government the power to block certain websites from November.

“It sounds like a joke, but because of this video… all of YouTube could be blocked throughout Russia,” Nikiforov wrote.

The new law – which has prompted protests from the country’s leading online companies – is designed to protect minors from extremist and other dangerous material, allowing the government to block an entire site over the content of a single page.

Russia’s top search engine Yandex ran a black “censorship” ribbon on its front page in protest at the law, while Russian-language Wikipedia closed down for the day.

Russia’s federal prosecutors said Monday they would ask a court to include the film the “Innocence of Muslims” on a list of extremist materials, after a senator called for the movie to be banned.

A court decision is sufficient to add materials to Russia’s list of banned extremist materials, which includes Islamic and Christian texts.

The government media watchdog said yesterday it was “strongly recommending” Internet operators block access to the film ahead of a court decision.

The initially obscure film, believed to have been produced by a small group of extremist Christians in the US, has sparked a week of deadly protests across the Muslim world.

Additional reporting by AFP

Read: Hezbollah urges week of protests against anti-Islam film

More: Two die in Pakistan as film violence spreads

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Gavan Reilly

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