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Russia bans a 3.5-year-old ‘Vice’ article about shoplifting

Source: VKontakte

Russia's state censor, Roskomnadzor, has banned an article that appeared on Vice's Russian-language edition in November 2012. The text, titled “Steal and Make a Run For It,” is about shoplifting, and includes advice from people about how get food and other basic needs by stealing. At one point in the story, one person recommends “training” young children to help steal.

Roskomnadzor says it is responding to a decision by a court in the Tyumen region, which ruled that Vice violated Russian laws against propagating theft. The court order apparently dates back to December 14, 2015. (It is unclear why Roskomnadzor has waited until now to act on the ruling, though delays of this nature are common with Russia's Internet policing.)

Roskomnadzor says repeated efforts to contact Vice had produced no response. On Twitter and other social media, Russian officials announced that Vice has now been added to Russia's Internet blacklist, calling on the public to pressure Vice's editors to respond to Roskomnadzor's messages.

This tweet was written in order to draw people's attention. Thank you.

According to Russia's Internet regulations, website that fail to remove banned content are added to Roskomnadzor's “out-load” list, which is a special database of prohibited websites. Russian network operators are supposed to download this database two times a day, at 9 a.m. and at 9 p.m. Then the operators have to block the “out-load” webpages, so that their clients can’t access them. If someone tries to access a blocked website, they just see a page showing a notification that the website was blocked. It usually reads, “We are sorry for the inconvenience, but access to the requested page has been limited by the state authorities.”