Just as UAE bids farewell to BlackBerry, Russia also says goodbye to YouTube. This was after a ruling issued in the Russian far-east city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur for a regional ban because YouTube hosted “Russia for Russians” which contained extremist content that was banned by the justice ministry. Aside from blocking access to YouTube, the decision ordered local Internet Service Provider RA-RTS Rosnet to block three online libraries (Lib.rus.ec, Thelib.ru and Zhurnal.ru) and a website that archives deleted web pages (web.archives.org) for having copies of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf.”
According to Reporters Without Borders, “There are other mechanisms, envisaged in YouTube’s user conditions, for obtaining the withdrawal of videos that pose a problem. Why did the prosecutor take this case directly to court? Why didn’t he just contact YouTube’s moderators or those in charge of the online libraries to request withdrawal of the offending content?”
Google, the owner of YouTube also described the ruling as contrary to the constitutional right of Russians to information. It added that the Russian government could have just reported the video to the YouTube moderator as a violation of the user conditions.
In an attempt to curtail extremist videos, the irony of the ruling is that Russians would also be prevented from having access to the recently launched channel of President Dmitry Medvedev which is also on YouTube.