Moscow (AsiaNews) - Russia has decided to ban the anti-Islam
film "The innocence of Muslims", which has triggered violent protests
in many countries. The
Tverskoi court in Moscow
yesterday, 1st October, accepted the request of the attorney general to define
the "extremist content" the film, thus banning it in the Federation. The
decision can be challenged on appeal within one month of the judgment, which
will be announced on October 5th. Welcomed
by the Muslim community in the North Caucasus,
where Islam is the majority religion, the verdict has rather alarmed human
rights defenders. While
recognizing that the film offends religious sentiment, the deputy director of
Human Rights Watch in Russia,
Tatiana Lokshina, described the sentence as "excessive", advancing
concerns about the total blocking of YouTube, which hosts the film.
The Attorney General has already explained that the ban will come into force on 1st November, under the new media law - which provides "black lists" of Web sites deemed "harmful to the health and development of children" - the video will be included in the blacklist of the extremist materials. At that point, or YouTube must withdraw the controversial film made in the USA, or Russian Internet users will be prevented from accessing the video sharing site.
Officially launched to protect children from "harmful" content, the law in fact allows the authorities to block an entire website based on the content of a single page, deemed inappropriate. The setting of this law has provoked protests from the main Russian search engine Yandex, and also Wikipedia in Russian. But to no avail.
With nearly 20 million members, the Muslim community is the second largest religious community in Russia after the Orthodox.