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Mar. 13, 2008
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Blog Case Goes to Court
The prosecutor of Syktyvkar, Komi republic, has handed the criminal case against local resident Savva Terentyev over to the court. Terentyev is being charged with inciting enmity or hostility for statements he made about the local police in his blog. This is the first case in Russia revolving around commentary in an online diary. The prosecutor has equated the blog with mass media. Terentyev faces up to two years in prison.
Terentyev, a musician, made harsh commentary in his blog at suranov.livejournal.com about the use of the police against the local opposition press. The police have the mentality of a repressive club in the hands of the powers that be, Teretyev wrote. He also called the police several unflattering names. The prosecutor argued that Terentyev was using his diary as a form of mass media and that he was motivated by intolerance for a specific group policemen with the goal of publicly urging citizens to fight against the given social group.

Russian authorities have attempted, unsuccessfully, to bring cases against Internet users before, particularly for posting nationalistic propaganda. In this case, the prosecutor has not filed charges of inciting ethnic enmity, but of belittling a social group. Experts question whether an Internet diary can be considered a form of mass media and whether the police can be considered a homogenous group. Terentyev states that he will appeal the court's decision regardless of what it rules.
www.kommersant.com

All the Article in Russian as of Mar. 13, 2008

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