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MOSCOW, July 23 (RIA Novosti) – The prosecutor in a Russian town wants to limit access to popular blogging site LiveJournal over a post about how to give bribes, Russian media reported Tuesday.
Local prosecutor Alexei Petrov is so concerned by the entry in question, made in February 2011 under the title “How to give bribes properly. A full guide for newbies,” that he is seeking to ban access to the site and the entry, Vedomosti reported.
However, a LiveJournal spokesperson cited by Vedomosti responded by saying that, since the post is clearly humorous and in line with both Russian law and the site’s own user agreement, there are no grounds for access to be restricted.
A court in Nizhny Novgorod is set to consider the case on Thursday, local media reported.
The prosecutor aimed his complaint at the regional branch of major Russian telecoms operator Rostelecom, which is refraining from any comment on this issue until after the hearing, Vedomosti reported.
Corruption and bribery remain sensitive issues in Russia. Despite the government’s repeated attempts to curb illicit practices, a report by the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office in April said that corruption-related crimes had risen by 25 percent in 2012.
In late June, a number of websites, including two leading online publications with a track record of criticizing corruption, were banned by a court in Russia’s Ulyanovsk Region for “promoting bribery.”
Since late 2012, Russia has maintained a blacklist of sites containing information deemed harmful to children. Human rights groups speaking out before the law came into effect feared that the law would make Internet censorship easier, as it widens the scope for banning access without first going through the courts.
Last month, the Russian government fast-tracked a stringent copyright law.
Blogging site LiveJournal remains popular in Russia, claiming over 5 million registered accounts on its Russian-language service, and over 30 million accounts worldwide.
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