A local court in far east Russia has banned YouTube as well as four other sites, according to multiple reports. The court, which is in the city of Komsomolsk-on-Amur, ruled that local Internet service provider Rosnet could block its users from accessing the world’s largest video sharing site due to extremist videos that had been uploaded by some of its users.
Despite the fact that YouTube has tools in place to allow Internet service providers to request the site to block access to individual videos, the court ruled that the entire site be blocked. In particular, YouTube came under fire for hosting “Russia for Russians,” a video that was found to contain extremist elements and, according to the Moscow Times, had been placed on the Justice Ministry’s federal list of banned extremist materials.
When asked for comment, a YouTube spokesperson responded with the following statement: “We have received reports that a district court in Russia has ordered a local ISP to block access to YouTube. We are looking into the matter and are working to ensure that service is not interrupted.”
The four other sites that the court ordered Rosnet to block included three online libraries — Lib.rus.ec, Thelib.ru and Zhurnal.ru — as well as Web.archive.org, all of which were found to contain Adolf Hitler’s Mein Kampf. The Hitler memoir had been blacklisted by a local court in March.
YouTube is no stranger to web censorship, as it has been blocked in a number of countries. Thailand, Turkey, Brazil, China and most recently, Pakistan, have all acted to cut off access to YouTube over the past several years.
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