Monitoring begun of xenophobia and anti-Semitism on popular sites
At the initiative of National Deputy Oleksandr Feldman, monitoring has begun of popular Internet publications for manifestations of xenophobia, anti-Semitism and violence. Human rights activists urge caution.
Mr Feldman told Deutsche Welle that such monitoring should have been carried out for a long time. He said that the recent election campaign had clearly confirmed this need, and noted offensive commentary about one of the Mayoral candidates in Odessa, one saying that Gurvich should be sent to Babi Yar (the site of a terrible massacre of Jews under Nazi occupation – translator). He says that they want offensive references to stop and will be bringing law suits to court against the site owners, and users.
Feldman said that the monitoring would be carried out by the Human Rights Institute IHRPEX which he and Amanda Pol, analyst from the Brussels European Political Centre are co-founders of. He says that this is not about only ethnic or religious insults, and he is categorically against denigrating remarks about the homeless, the poor, even against offensive commentaries of football fans. He calls on Internet sites to block those who circulate child pornography and scenes of violence. He is convinced that the site owners should provide access to the users’ IPs so that the prosecutor can investigate offensive publications.
Co-Chair of the Kharkiv Human Rights Group, Yevhen Zakharov considers that the initiators of the monitoring should be very careful. He points out that there has already been a criminal investigation initiated only because a person on his own blog, criticizing the phenomenon, cited a video on Youtube.
He believes that checking IP addresses is an infringement of confidentiality in the Internet which stops it being free. “The possibility for surveillance is created. If they want to, they can identify anybody writing there.
He also points to the inadequate Article 161 of the Criminal Code which does not sufficiently protect victims of xenophobia and anti-Semitism. Only one publication has been closed for such material.