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LiveJournal blocks photographs on Pussy Riot blog

6 February 2013 


Source HRO.org (info)
Dozens of photos have been blocked from the Feminist Punk Band Pussy Riot blog on LiveJournal, according to the blog’s authors. They attribute the decision by the management of LiveJournal to a court ruling that found videos belonging to the group to be extremist.

All of the photographs in four out of five posts about the group's performances, as well as shots from performances in other recordings and in the blog's profile are no longer accessible. Grey 'placeholders' appear in their place on the webpages without any explanatory text, notes Grani.ru.

This week, at the request of the Russian Federal Mass Media and Communications Agency (Roskomnadzor), LiveJournal management blocked a post by designer Artemy Lebedev, Dumb Ways to Die, for advocating suicide. The post featured a promotional cartoon for the Melbourne suburban rail network. Lebedev's post has been entered into the list of banned sites. Earlier a recording by the well-known blogger Rustem Adagamov (LiveJournal user drugoi) was blocked for the same reasons. The post has been closed to Russian users but is available in other countries.

On 29 November Zamoskvoretsky district court judge Marina Musimovich imposed a ban on four of the five videos by the punk band Pussy Riot. In addition to the punk prayer video "Virgin Mary, Mother of God, Put Putin Away!", the decision of the court also restricts access to the following recordings: "Pussy Riot Occupies Public Transport (Set the Pavement Free)", "Pussy Riot Burns Putin's Glamour (Kropotkin-Vodka)" and "Pussy Riot on Red Square (Putin Got Scared)". Experts from the Russian Institute for Cultural Research found that words and images in all four videos were aimed at inciting hatred and animosity towards members of specific religions and social groups, along with calls for revolution, insubordination towards authority and rioting. The prosecutor did not ask that the fifth clip, "Death to Prison, Freedom to Protest," be recognised as extremist.

The Prosecutor's Office went to court based on the results of psycho-linguistic research into the recordings carried out at the request of Aleksandr Starovoitov, State Duma deputy and a member of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR). Starovoitov said that these videos, "offend millions of believers, negatively impact on public morals and decency, and watching them has adverse effects."

On 30 November Moscow City Court dismissed a complaint by Ekaterina Samutsevich concerning the classification of Pussy Riot’s videos as extremist and restrictions imposed on access to them, RIA Novosti reports. According to a representative of Pussy Riot, the judges’ decision was based on the fact that Samutsevich had not been named as an interested party in the case. For her part, Samutsevich told journalists, "the cause of Pussy Riot will continue", but she did not specify what format it would take.

She added that she regards the courts' rulings on the videos as censorship and plans to appeal them.

Samutsevich's lawyer explained that in the view of the defence Samutsevich is neither the producer nor the distributor of the videos. Yet this is exactly what Moscow’s Khamovnichesky district court, which sentenced her in the "Punk Prayer" case, believes. This is also the position taken by the investigators in the case, who initiated separate proceedings with regard to materials allegedly falling under Article 282 of the Criminal Code, and who found that the actions of participants in the demonstration in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour constituted extremism.
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