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Russian court bans online porn, citing conventions from 1910 and 1923

Источник: Izvestia

A local court in Apastovsky district of Russia’s Republic of Tatarstan has ruled to block access to 136 websites featuring “pornographic material,” citing international conventions from 1910 and 1923, signed by the Russian Empire and the USSR, respectively. The ruling has been passed on to Roskomnadzor, Russia’s state-run media watchdog responsible for blocking websites.

The newspaper Izvestia reports that district attorney officials noted that international conventions are an integral part of Russia’s legal framework, and they take priority in the event that they conflict with domestic Russian laws. The district attorney’s office found the websites by using the search engine Yandex to search for “porn video” and “prostitutes in Kazan” (the capital city of the region). Based on the search results, a list of 136 websites was drawn up, and a panel of experts was called to analyze the content. The experts concluded that the websites indeed featured pornographic material.

A local court settled the claim and ruled that Roskomnadzor must block access the 136 sites found to contain porn. Vadim Ampelonskiy, Roskomnadzor's spokesman, told Izvestia that this is the first time the agency has gotten a request for blocking such a large number of websites containing porn. Izvestia has reported that the list includes xHamster, one of the most popular pornography websites in the world.

According to Sergei Pryanishnikov, an adult filmmaker from St. Petersburg, Russian law bans illegal distribution of pornography, but does not specify what constitutes “legal distribution.” Pryanishnikov thus claims that there can be no legal justification for a ban on pornography in Russia.

The district attorney’s office in Tatarstan published a notice on limiting access to 136 porn websites on February 20, 2015.

The district attorney’s office in Apastovsky district has refused to comment on the blocking of porn websites.

Izvestia

Roskomnadzor is a state agency responsible for overseeing the media and the internet. The agency receives requests from courts and other state agencies to block material found online and determined to be illicit. After Roskomnadzor receives a request for blocking a website, officials must block access to the website through internet service providers.

In 1910, the Russian Empire signed the Agreement for the Repression of Obscene Publications in Paris.

The International Convention on the Suppression of the Circulation of, and Traffic in, Obscene Publications was signed in Geneva in 1923. Over 50 countries signed the convention, including the USSR.

Russian law stipulates that illegal production and circulation of pornographic material are banned, but the law does not clarify what constitutes “legal” or “illegal” actions in the context of porn.