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City Hall to Monitor Media for Extremism

A city-sponsored company will monitor Moscow-made media, web sites, books, DVD releases and even advertisement leaflets for signs of extremism starting next year, Ekho Moskvy radio reported Thursday.

Moscow authorities did not specify the budget for the project, but said they have reached an agreement with web service providers, who would be deleting any online materials deemed to incite ethnic hatred, the report said, without identifying the providers.

The state company charged with monitoring media, Center for Information and Analytical Technologies, would hold psychological and linguistic examinations into media, sites and video materials available in the city, the radio added. The company is created on Mayor Sergei Sobyanin's order signed Thursday.

The measure would be a part of the Kremlin's anti-extremism plan for 2011 and 2012, City Hall said on its web site in May.

Main state bodies tasked with fighting extremism in the country are the Prosecutor General's Office and the Interior Ministry, which has a separate anti-extremism department. Moscow officials did not elaborate on how the city-sponsored monitoring plan will correlate with activities of these agencies.

Sobyanin also earlier tasked city police with tracking creators of extremist web sites and ordered it to hold regular meetings with leaders of ethnic diasporas and religious denominations on how to prevent ethnic and religious conflicts in Moscow, Itar-Tass said.

An inquiry submitted to City Hall's press office Thursday afternoon went unanswered. No one was available for comment at the Center for Information and Analytical Technologies.

A Moscow police spokesman said police were "eager to get information about extremism from any citizens and organizations."

The mayor earlier also ordered Nikolai Lomakin, prefect of the Eastern Administrative District, to ban sales of nationalist and fascist accessories at the Vernisazh market outside the Partizanskaya metro station, Itar-Tass said.

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