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War censorship...

Ukraine introduces an internet censorship bill

Link Here4th May 2023

Members of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's party have introduced a bill to criminalize the spread of information deemed false on the internet and through social media that violates Ukraine's national security.

Ostensibly, the bill is targeted at bot accounts coordinated by Russian special services who, as the authors of the bill claim, are conducting informational influence actions against the state interests of Ukraine. But in reality, the language of the bill is so encompassing that anyone could be arrested for posting information that the right-wing nationalist government in Kiev deems misinformation.

Under the proposed bill, lawmakers would have broad powers to arrest anyone who participates in the creation, acquisition, use or sale of accounts, including those containing knowingly false information, as well as the posting and distribution of inaccurate information.

Anyone who spreads so called misinformation with the intention to damage to the sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability, defense capability, national, state, economic or informational security of Ukraine, or to exert influence on decision-making or taking or not taking actions by state bodies or local self-government bodies, officials of these bodies, would likewise face arrest and imprisonment of 5 to 7 years and the confiscation of personal property.



Extract: Massive collateral damage...

Study finds internet censorship in Turkmenistan reaches over 122,000 domains

Link Here12th April 2023
The dictatorship in Turkmenistan does not get a lot of media and scholarly attention, although it is more than worthy of it. In the 2023 Freedom in the World Index, the country ranked in the bottom three, behind only war-torn Syria and ahead of North Korea. The issue of internet censorship is particularly acute in Turkmenistan. In 2016, the media freedom organization Reporters without Borders listed the country as one of the enemies of the internet due to its heavy censorship and information control policies. The internet speed in Turkmenistan is the slowest in the world. The authorities arrest citizens who use VPN apps to access censored content.

Between 2021 and 2022, a team of computer scientists conducted the first and only large-scale research on internet censorship in Turkmenistan, in which they tested 15.5 million domains for censorship and found out that over 122,000 domains are blocked.

Full research results are available here .



A war on freedom...

Russian censors inflict extensive TV cuts on western programming with significant gay content

Link Here28th February 2023
Russian viewers watched the HBO's hit series The White Lotus in the only officially available format via streaming platform Amediateka. The platform severely censored the second season of The White Lotus to comply with repressive Russian law banning gay content.

Scenes were removed, lines of dialogues were purposefully mistranslated in dubbing and Russian subtitles (eg We're all gays here ,became We're all men here ) and the bare buttocks of actor Leo Woodall were covered with a poorly photoshopped blanket, even though featuring in a straight scene.

HBO's Euphoria was also edited in similar ways by Amediateka with nearly two hours' worth of content cut out of the series' second season.

Viewers also discovered that the translation of Sex and the City was tweaked, replacing the word gay with boy , while several scenes were completely cut out.

An amended anti-gay law was signed into law by President Vladimir Putin at the end of last year. It is a more severe version of 2013's law that saw the country outlawing 'LGBT propaganda' and depictins of LGBT behaviour among children under 18 (i.e., holding hands in public, men wearing colourful nail polish, kissing).

After December 2022 all kinds of LGBT propaganda are considered illegal. The list includes untraditional sexual relationships and gender reassignment. Lawmakers are still working on the list of further criteria for proclaiming a work illegal,' and it will come into effect in September.

Russia's internet censor Roskomnadzor has also issued its own list of movies and TV shows that were to be removed from all the legal streaming platforms including Call Me By Your Name , Brokeback Mountain , the first season of The Sex Lives of College Girls and several episodes of This Is Going to Hurt .



Atomic Heart...

Ukraine calls for the ban of a video game due to Russian business connections

Link Here25th February 2023
Ukraine s Ministry of Digital Transformation said that it will send a letter to gaming platforms Valve, Sony, and Microsoft to ban the sale of the new game Atomic Heart in Ukraine. The game is set in the Soviet era, where there is a robot uprising. A KGB officer rises to the occasion to save the country.

The recently released game by Mundfish studio is reportedly sponsored by Russian publisher Gaijin and Anatoliy Paliy, the top manager of Russian energy company Gazprom, according to Ukrainian blogger OLDboi.

Digital Transformation Deputy Minister Oleksandr Borniakov encouraged other countries to ban the game.

We also call for limiting the distribution of this game in other countries due to its toxicity, potential collection of user data and the possibility of transferring it to third parties in Russia , as well as the potential use of money raised from game purchases to wage war against Ukraine.

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