MOSCOW, June 14 (RIA Novosti) – A Russian grassroots internet freedom watchdog launched a protest campaign on Friday against a state regulator that has banned several Japanese hentai cartoons as child porn.
“Hentai” is an umbrella term used in the West for Japanese cartoon pornography, which has several subgenres, including “lolicon” and “shotacon,” which depict underage teens or minors having sex.
Internet campaign group Rublacklist.net is urging concerned netizens to flood government media and telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor with hentai-related complaints, in response to what it claims is an unlawful ban, it said on its website.
The campaign could have far-reaching effects comparable to the DDoS attacks that often cause websites to crash, given that Google offers 311 million search hits for “hentai” – each of which could be a complaint requiring review by the state agency.
However, the state watchdog may just hire more staff to cope with the problem if it gets too many complaints, said Stanislav Shakirov of the Pirate Party of Russia.
Roskomnadzor experts ruled that several hentai cartoons on the Vk.com social network, reported by a vigilant user, were child pornography, the agency said on Thursday.
The cartoons were found to be exploiting sexual perversions, lacking plotlines, devoid of cultural or historic value and “depicting obviously underage characters engaged in pornographic episodes,” the regulator said.
The examination of the cartoons was so extensive and drawn-out that the complaint expired, and its author will have to re-file it, Roskomnadzor spokesman Vladimir Pikov told Digit.ru on Thursday, adding hentai was a “major cultural phenomenon.”
Rublacklist.net questioned the state regulator’s ruling, saying there is no way of defining the age of a cartoon character.
Since last November, governmental agencies in Russia are entitled without a court order to ban any online content they deem to be promoting child abuse, illegal drugs or suicide. About 6,600 websites are currently on the blacklist, but 97 percent are blocked due to the catch-all nature of the ban mechanism, rather than specific violations in their content, according to Rublacklist.net.
Roskomnadzor also slammed satirical US cartoon South Park on Thursday for promoting “a cult of violence and cruelty” and issued a warning to Russia’s 2x2 television channel over an unspecified episode of the series. A media outlet can be closed by court order if it receives two warnings within a year.