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St. Petersburg court bans distribution of anime series ‘Death Note’ in Russia

Source: Mediazona

St. Petersburg’s Kolpinsky District Court has banned the distribution of the Japanese animes Death Note and Inuyashiki via the website “jut.su,” Mediazona reported on Wednesday, January 20.

Spokespeople for the St. Petersburg court have clarified that the ban applies specifically to the dissemination of two particular web addresses — one of which links to an episode of Inuyashiki, while the other links to 37 episodes of Death Note.

Links to these webpages were contained in a lawsuit about the anime series Russian state prosecutors filed in December 2020.

As underscored by Mediazona correspondent Alexander Borodikhin, it’s still unclear whether or not this ban applies to the anime series as such or just the content posted on “jut.su.” That said, he warns that Russia’s censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, could interpret the court ruling as a “ban on the content in general” (in other words, on the anime series themselves). 

During the hearing on January 20, the anime Death Note was declared “potentially dangerous for a modern child” by Oleg Erlikh, an expert from the prosecutor’s office (Erlikh heads the family pedagogy department at the St. Petersburg Academy of Postgraduate Pedagogical Education).

“The name ‘Death Note’ itself is already — when there’s the problem of suicidal behavior — enough of a name to say that there is an indirect, but sufficient, motivating effect on a child. This prompts children to think in this direction and damages the psyche of minors,” Erlikh stated, as quoted by Mediazona.

The lawsuit on banning the anime series Death Note and Inuyashiki is one of five claims filed by Russian state prosecutors. Also on Wednesday, St. Petersburg’s Kolpinsky District Court is considering lawsuits seeking to ban distribution of the anime series Naruto, Terror in Tokyo, Elfen Lied, and Ishuzoku Reviewers. These lawsuits are grounded in claims that these series contain scenes of cruelty, murder, and violence. 

State prosecutors are also seeking to ban the song “Ya s’el deda” (“I ate grandpa”) by the Russian rapper Morgenshtern. The department’s experts who reviewed the song considered its name inappropriate. No other reasons were given as to why the track should be banned. 

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