November 08, 2023

No More Music


No More Music
Cover of the "Sisters" podcast about the war in Ukraine, removed from Russian streaming. t.me/privetinoagent.

Russian streaming service Yandex.Music expunged 4,333 songs, videos, podcast episodes, and album covers during the first nine months of 2023, at the behest of Roskomnadzor, the Russian government agency responsible for overseeing and regulating telecommunications within the country.

According to Russian news outlet RBK, the primary justifications for removing the content were the dissemination of "fake news" pertaining to the Russian war in Ukraine, content that discredited the Russian armed forces, materials that described or promoted non-traditional sexual relationships, information about methods of self-harm or suicide, the publication of materials categorized as extremist, or content that expressed explicit disrespect for the state, the constitution, official state symbols of Russia, its president, as well as any content promoting drug use, pornography, and even "justifications of pedophilia."

Among the purged content were Ukrainian songs, such as the folk song "Chervona Kalina," as well as songs like "Ya yidu v ZSU" ("I'm enrolling in the Armed Forces of Ukraine") by MC Chipollino. Russian artists who voiced opposition to the war in Ukraine also had their songs deleted, including "Eto proydet" ("This Will Pass") by the punk band Pornofilmy, which was dedicated to the Moscow protests of 2019.

A substantial amount of content, including podcasts, was removed. Yandex.Music recently blocked access to the podcast "Privet, ti inoagent" ("Hello, you are a foreign agent") produced by journalists Sonya Groysman and Olga Churakova. This action was taken after the release of the new season of  "Sestry" ("Sisters"), which explores the lives of Russian families with members fighting in Ukraine. Additionally, Yandex.Music eliminated "Kholod" publication's podcast about the war between Russia and Ukraine, the Meduza podcast "Deadline," which discusses Russian media in wartime conditions, as well as various other independent media podcasts. In October 2022, Yandex.Music also restricted access to the Meduza podcasts "Signal" and "Chto Sluchilos" ("What Happened").

It was previously reported that Yandex.Music would implement content censorship through the utilization of artificial intelligence and manual review processes. Furthermore, Russian authorities were planning to employ artificial intelligence for content censorship on the Russian-language internet, commonly known as RuNet.

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