Tue, Aug 28, 2018 - Page 7 News List

Russians on trial for sharing memes

AFP, MOSCOW

Sarkis Darbinyan, a Russian digital rights lawyer, welcomed the request by Mail.ru as a step in the right direction, but said he did not expect to see any immediate changes.

“The main idea behind these policies is to create fear amongst Internet users. The aim is to create the impression that authorities are following every network user,” he told reporters. “Many users are already scared of sharing their own thoughts, they’re self-censoring their content, they’re deleting what they shared earlier. That reduces the level of free speech on social networking sites in Russia.”

Dmitry, a 21-year-old from the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, is one Internet user who has changed his behavior because of the steady drip of news of arrests.

“I’ve just been deleting a lot of my photos and posts from my wall that have been building up there for the last couple of years,” he said of his VKontakte profile.

He told reporters he would refrain from posting any thoughts on politics to the network, keeping these instead for other channels.

“Now there’s a definite fear — the state’s going crazy and you can be arrested just for ‘liking’ something. I don’t want to get caught up in all that, I want to be safe,” he said.

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