New East Digital Archive

Russia bans Reddit pages over drug discussion

Russia bans Reddit pages over drug discussion
(Image: Eva Blue under a CC licence)

14 August 2015

Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor has blocked access to some parts of social news site Reddit because of content “promoting” the use of illegal drugs.

The offending page was titled, “Minimal and Reliable Methods for Growing Psilocybe [Mushrooms]”.

Roskomnadzor stated that it was acting on a request from the Russian Federal Drug Control Service, which said the page was promoting the use of illegal drugs. The media watchdog had threatened to block the entire Reddit site, after it received no response to its requests to the site administrators to remove pages that refer to growing “magic mushrooms” and cannabis, and posted on its official social media accounts asking service providers to restrict access to these pages.

In its social media announcements, Roskomnadzor said it had sent requests to “multiple addresses” at Reddit but had received no response. A lack of summer staff at Reddit is no excuse to “risk losing its entire audience” in Russia, it said. The organisation asked anyone with ties to Reddit’s site administrators to let them know about the proposed actions against them. In a later message it thanked those that had got in touch with Reddit for their help in ensuring that the pages could no longer be accessed in Russia.

Reddit is one of a host of websites to find itself under scrutiny in Russia. Last year Roskomnadzor asked Twitter to remove 121 posts, while Facebook restricted 84 posts based on requests from the media watchdog. Last year, Russian legislators passed a law that places restrictions on bloggers and forces those with an audience of more than 3,000 people to register with Roskomnadzor.