|DOCUMENT: Censorship from the Church and government has blocked "Portal-Credo.ru" on the eve of the Council of Bishops and Local Council of the ROC MP|
A press release from the editorial board of the independent news-analytical
Internet website on religion "Portal-Credo.ru" (www.Portal-Credo.ru)
(Temporary website address on Live Journal – http://credo-rating.livejournal.com/)
On the evening of January 23, 2009, access to our Portal was blocked by unknown forces.We were unable to restore access after trying for 16 hours after that.It seems to be a massive DOS-attack, which can also lead to the erasure of all the content of the Portal.
The editorial board believes it is connected to the forthcoming Council of Bishops and Local Council of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church, which will take place January 25-30, 2009, and at which a new Patriarch of this church will be elected.On the eve of these Councils, a number of church organizations (including the "Union of Orthodox Citizens," a group dear to the patriarchal locum tenens, Metropolitan Kirill (Gundyaev)) have organized a campaign targeting our Portal, which is one of the more well-known sources of independent information on religious and societal life in Russia.The reason for this targeting has been the regular publication of information and analyses on the Portal about the candidates for patriarch and developments in the election campaign.In publishing such information, the editors maintained strict adherence to professional practices and did not allow any agitation, or the distribution of uncorroborated information, or defamation, and carefully observed all Russian laws.
Even though no official accusations were made against our Portal, the patriarchal locum tenens and representatives of his immediate circle stated on numerous occasions that they would prefer that this mass media outlet be stopped.On the eve of the election of the Patriarch, security agencies of the Russian Federation took it upon themselves to "provide for its security."The Portal learned of discussions between workers of the FSB of the RF with representatives of the clergy and church organizations regarding their preference of one of the candidates for Patriarch.A number of other opposition church Internet sites, including the Russian Autonomous Orthodox Church website and forums in support of Bishop Diomid (Dzyuban) of Chukotsk, have also been shut down.Unprecedented security measures have been taken around the Church of Our Savior, where the Councils will be held.Moscow authorities have announced the formation of a special Headquarters for the Councils "with the participation of all the involved parties," while the Moscow Chief Directorate of Internal Affairs has assigned 12,000 members of the Special Police Force (OMON) and internal units to the church.
This is not the first time that a campaign of targeting and gossip has been undertaken against the Portal, which simply tries to discuss various aspects of church life in our country.Its professionalism and trustworthiness is demonstrated in that not a single accusation against it has ever led to a court case.In this instance, the public figures of the ROC MP and their supporters in the government have shown their fear of truthful information and have turned to coarse bullying instead of an honest and open dialogue.
The editorial board asks other sources of mass media, institutions of secular society, and its readers to demonstrate forcefully against the censorship of the church-government forces and to make all effort to restore the activity of the Portal.
During the time when the Portal will remain blocked, its information can be read in the Live Journal at http://credo-rating.livejournal.com/.We also expect other similar sites and sources of mass media to distribute our information and analyses.Censorship – is our common enemy.
Moscow, January 24, 2009