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Over 1,000 websites to be shut down to fight suicides

April 03, 2013, 10:29 UTC+3

Psychologists, for their part, believe a ban on websites may incite interest in them

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Russia’s Rospotrebnadzor consumer rights watchdog has stated that it is necessary to block over 1,000 Internet sites that, according to the agency, contain appeals to suicide or information about ways to commit suicide. Experts, however, don’t see any sense in a ban. According to them, there are dozens of ways to bypass this. Psychologists, for their part, believe a ban on websites may incite interest in them.

In line with a government ruling, at the end of 2012 Rospotrebnadzor began looking into the problem of suicides among children and teenagers, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta writes. It has paid attention to the fact that some websites look like “suicide manuals”, an access to them is free so anyone who is more or less computer literate can visit them. Quite a dangerous raging of liberalism.

Rospotrebnadzor analyzed about 2,000 websites as to their containing prohibited information about ways to commit suicide and appeals to commit suicide, and ruled that over 1,500 of them must be blacklisted, the Novye Izvestia writes. Russia’s chief sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko reported about this a few days ago. These sites may be shortly blocked upon the court decision of the decision of Roskomnadzor (the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media).

Independent Internet expert Anton Merkulov explained to the newspaper that Rospotrebnadzor staffers use in their survey most widespread search systems, acting like ordinary Internet users. “At the same time, most of advanced Internet users, including a lot of teenagers, know dozens of means to bypass ‘the black list’. Which means they can post and read information that is not accessible for Rospotrebnadzor staffers,” he said.

According to an expert on Internet content security, Alexander Shalin, it is law enforcement agencies that must decide on shutting down an Internet resource, but with the participation of public organizations, as this is practiced in European countries.

The sites themselves cannot push a person towards suicide, as suicide is a phenomenon that has many factors and the decision is made proceeding from a set of circumstances, suicidologist with PhD in psychology Marina Panfilova said. According to her, a ban on such websites will only incite more interest in them, particularly with teenagers.


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