A video of four teens sexually assaulting a schoolboy over 10 rubles (35 cents) he owed them got a news web site slapped with an official warning, the first step toward shutting down a media outlet.
The video of the incident, which took place in St. Petersburg in late April, was shot on a cell phone camera by the teens, who used a shovel handle to rape the boy. The victim and all but one attacker were aged under 14.
The story hit local media on Tuesday, but only the local news portal Fontanka.ru posted an uncensored version of the video along with its report of the attack.
This prompted the Federal IT and Mass Media Inspection Service on Wednesday to order the video be deleted as it “promoted a cult of violence and cruelty” and thus violated the media law. The watchdog also said that it issued Fontanka.ru with a formal warning, two of which allow authorities to close a media outlet.
Fontanka.ru took down the video but said it would appeal in court. In an editorial, it said it was seeking “to attract public attention” to the problem of bullying.
Prosecutors have opened a case into the assault but only the attacker aged over 14 is old enough to be tried under Russian law.