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Russia bans Shutterstock domain because of photo showing national flag planted in poop
Source: MBK Media

Russia’s federal censor has added one of the domains operated by the American stock photography provider “Shutterstock” to its registry of banned online resources. According to MBK Media, Roskomnadzor added image.shutterstock.com to its blacklist on the basis of a decision by the Attorney General’s Office on November 13. 

The website Roskomsvoboda, which monitors Internet freedom in Russia, says officials started blocking the domain on November 28. Shutterstock users and Roskomsvoboda have also shared hyperlinks to the image that caused the domain’s ban: a photograph of a miniature Russian flag planted in a moldy pile of feces. At the time of this writing, the image is still accessible at Shutterstock.

In late November on Change.org, a user registered in Germany named Yulia Raketic launched a petition calling on Shutterstock to ban “aijaphoto,” the Latvia-based user who posted the image of the Russian flag in excrement. Raketic says the account should be banned for “disrespect for the nation and insulting the national flag of the Russian Federation, which led to the blocking of shutterstock.com.” At the time of this writing, the petition has more than 200 signatures.

In 2019, Russia adopted a prohibition on disrespecting the state authorities. The legislation calls for the deletion of any Internet content that “indecently” expresses “clear disrespect” for society, the state, government offices, and state symbols.

In July, Roskomnadzor managed to get Facebook to remove an image showing a swastika on Russia’s coat of arms, and got Twitter to delete a tweet that contained an “obscene insult addressed to the Russian people.”