Russian court: Get 'extremist' Pussy Riot videos off the Web

The punk band's videos are now blocked from access within the country, thanks to the government's Internet law.

Pussy Riot
The members of Pussy Riot in court earlier this year. CBSNews video/Screenshot by CNET

A Moscow district court has ruled that videos by jailed Russian punk band Pussy Riot are considered "extremist" material and must be blocked by Internet providers in the country, according to news reports.

The unnamed judge today read out the IP addresses of the Web sites hosting the Pussy Riot videos and ordered them to remove the videos, according to the Associated Press. It is not clear whether Google-owned YouTube was on the list.

Government experts labeled the videos a "disguised call to organize mass riots on squares similar to the Occupy Wall Street or the events in the Arab countries," according to Russian news agency RT. The videos were also deemed to likely offend members of the Russian Orthodox Church, the news agency said.

Three members of Pussy Riot were put on trial this summer for alleged hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, a crime under the country's law. They were convicted and sentenced to two years in prison. The band members stirred up controversy in February with an unauthorized performance in Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. The performance was used in a video of a song that condemns President Vladimir Putin, as well as the Orthodox Church's support of him and its treatment of women.

Many of the band's videos have remained online and available to watch, including on YouTube.

Earlier this year, Russia's parliament passed an Internet "blacklist" law that forces Russian Internet providers to block access to material falling afoul of the country's laws.

The law, which was initially created under the guise of protecting the country's children from harmful online content was heavily amended before it became law in July.

Any content that promotes drug use, promotes suicide, or offers "extremist material" is deemed "harmful content" under the Russian law, and Internet providers must block the content almost immediately.

However, the bill's wording was tweaked to try to prevent abuse , such as using it to blacklist political rivals or opposition party Web sites.

 

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