Russia blocks photo material site with “photo of dog poo with Russian flag”

     The Russian news site MBK Media reported that Russia’s telecommunications regulator, Roskomnadzor, decided to blacklist “Shutterstock” on November 13, 2019 and block access from within Russia. At the time of writing, Shutterstock was no longer accessible from Russia, and it is explained that the block was caused by a “photo of a dog stabbing a Russian flag.”

Shutterstock was blocked by a photo posted by a user named aijaphoto of Latvia, “a photo of a small Russian flag stuck in a moldy dog’s poop.” In the description that aijaphoto attached to the photo, he said, “The Russian flag is placed on top of the dog’ poop. This symbolizes protests against Russian politics, and it was originally posted with the intention of criticizing the Russian government. The image that was already in question has been deleted, but you can see thumbnails of reprinted photos. There is not only one type of dog with a small Russian flag stabbed, but also a variety of things from dark to moldy and white. In addition, even if it is the one that the national flag is stabbed in the same way, the photograph is taken in several compositions.

In Russia, in March 2019, a law was passed by the Federal House (Senate) that imposes severe penalties on the public for spreading information that the authorities consider false or for expressing an “outright insult” to the state online, and President Putin signed it. Under the law, individuals who have expressed “outright insults” online for the state, authorities, citizens, Russian flags and constitutions will be fined up to 100,000 rubles (about 170,000 yen) online, and re-offendors can be fined twice as much as the first time or sentenced to imprisonment for up to 15 days. President Putin Signs Law Banning National Insults and Disinformation on the Net – Reuters https://jp.reuters.com/article/Putin-internet-policy-idJPKCN1R00GT

As the Russian government tightened its online regulations, regulator Roskomnadzor judged the image in question to be “insulting to Russia” and added Shutterstock to the blacklist to block access from within Russia. Roskomsvoboda, a Moscow-based, anti-Internet regulatory advocacy group, has begun blocking Shutterstock’s domain from November 28, 2019. It is reported that it is no longer accessible from Russia. Shutterstock is also aware of the issue of blocked access from Russia and said it is addressing access to help it recover. “The content that has been considered in question has already been removed and Shutterstock continues to remove image thumbnails from the site,” Shutterstock commented.

In response to this incident, the online signature collection service, Change.org, has received a message from a German-based person named Yulia Raketic. Shutterstock should BAN aijaphoto, which posted a photo insulting Russia.” At the time of writing, 269 people who agreed to this petition have gathered signatures. Campaigns & Campaigns Portfolio Blocking Requirement aijaphot on shutterstock Change.org

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