18 May 2021, 10:01
Russian Orthodox Church proposes setting up system to filter Russophobic content online
Moscow, May 18, Interfax - The Russian Orthodox Church has come up with a proposal to launch a system in Russia to technically filter information that appears on the Internet.
"Today, the main battleground is the Internet, but its Russian segment is almost entirely dependent on foreign IT giants. There is a huge flow of lies on social networks, in particular, on our state, our history, and on our church. Global elites are establishing censorship in our territory. We are under information occupation [...]. The main task of this media work is to make Russians hate themselves," First Deputy Chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate's Department for Church, Society, and Media Relations Alexander Shchipkov said in an interview with the Spas television channel.
To solve this problem, firewalls are needed, that is, technical intermediaries between the global network and the computers of Internet users in Russia, Shchipkov said.
"I understand what they'll say now, how is that possible, where is freedom of speech?" Shchipkov said. "However, to hide behind arguments about freedom of speech in the conditions of war means fighting on the side of the enemy, distributing German leaflets in occupied Smolensk or besieged Leningrad. Is it freedom of speech if they're using this 'speech' to try to cripple the psyche of the Russian person? It's necessary to create a stable Runet in a short time, today that is the main foundation of Russia's media sovereignty," he said.
The representative of the Russian Orthodox Church said that Russia, unlike many other countries, has large IT services, such as Yandex, VK, and Mail.ru, and there is an efficient digital system providing state services and advanced developments in the tax system. "So, not everything is as catastrophic as it might seem at first glance," Shchipkov said. "There's something to push off from, although this is completely insufficient. The main thing is that in Russia, we don't have control over the Runet circulatory system (traffic) and memory (servers)," he said.
However, according to the church representative, technological IT-sovereignty is meaningless without making content on the Russian segment of the Internet sovereign.
"The technological aspect of the sovereignty of the Runet is only the first stage. Media platforms are only transport, 'wagons' for transportation, for the transmission of meanings. Suppose we took these wagons into our own hands, attached them to our own steam locomotive, and created our own IT platforms. What are we going to load into these wagons? What meanings will we bring to our citizens? These must be meanings that benefit our people. Benefit in this case is the key word. The Runet should not be harmful, but useful to people, the country, and the Church," Shchipkov said.
In Shchipkov's opinion, information sovereignty can be established only if a national ideology is elaborated. "If we don't formulate the current national ideology, that is, if we don't define the meanings and goals of Russia's existence in the conditions of aggressive globalism, then we will lose first information territory, then political territory, then everything else," he said.