Thousands of Internet users could lose access to the popular blogging site LiveJournal following action by small-town prosecutors to block a page instructing readers on the art of bribing.
Kulebaki prosecutors are suing Internet provider Rostelecom in the Nizhny Novgorod regional court to block access to a page titled "How to give bribes correctly. A complete guide for newbies."
The prosecution is requesting that the domain name and IP address of the site, as well as the MAC-address of the implicated server, all be blocked. This means that local Rostelecom users could lose access to the entire website, Matvei Alexeyev, the executive director of the Fund for Assistance for Internet Technologies and Infrastructure Development, told Vedomosti.
Due to LiveJournal's limited number of IP-addresses, users in other regions of Russia could lose access as well, Alexeyev said.
Court proceedings are set to begin on July 25.
The prosecution claims that the article in question, published in February 2011, promotes corruption in violation of the law titled, "Concerning information, information technology, and the defense of information," which prohibits publishing information that allows someone to carry out a crime.
Alexeyev said it was not proper procedure to sue the service provider directly. Following 2012 amendments to the legislation, prosecutors should contact the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service, which keeps a national register of banned sites.
A representative from LiveJournal, Yekaterina Pakhomchik, told Vedomosti that the company had not been contacted by prosecutors. She said no legal grounds existed for blocking the article because it was clearly intended as a joke and did not violate the law or LiveJournal's agreement with its users.