The protesters in Moscow have been growing by the numbers and Russia has threatened to take action against Google if these demonstrations are continually broadcast on YouTube. The media watchdog in Russia known as Roskomnadzor, wrote a letter to Google just two days ago, stating that they considered push notifications and advertisements that publicize the protests as a type of “interference” in its domestic policies.
Why the Protests?
Reportedly, the protesters are banding together in opposition of independent and opposition candidates being barred from the ballot in the upcoming municipal election. Authorities state that candidates were barred from the ballot due to a lack of the required number of signatures. Demonstrators don’t accept this explanation and have been gathering in groups on main streets in Moscow to prove their concern.
The top search result that pops up when typing in “Russia protests” is live footage from the protests that mainly focus on several police officers physically detaining protesters. These videos in the top results were posted by Fox Business, VOA News, and CBS News.
Threats Mean a No-Win Situation for YouTube
Russia claims that the channels through which the protests are broadcast these are interfering in sovereign affairs. They consider Google a hostile influence and the watchdog agency said if the tech giant continues to promote these, as they call then, “illegal mass events,” then they will have the right to react.
Roskomnadzor has fined Google in the past over not removing links to websites that the government had banned. If Google decides to give in to Russia’s demands and remove the content, protesters and users worldwide may no longer take the media channel seriously. If they leave the content up, the country may very well block the service altogether.
Strict Laws for Internet Connection
Completely removing YouTube from the internet repertoire in Russia is not out of the question. In May, the Russian Parliament created new laws that would allow for a national network, meaning the country would have its own internet independent from the world wide web. Russia President Vladimir Putin signed it into law, though it has yet to be put into practice.
The plan is for the law to come into effect this November, and will allow Roskomnadzor to direct traffic through Russian exchange points if their service, known as Runet, is threatened. Sites can also be blacklisted by the same regulator if they feel the content is threatening their country and its operations.
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