Russian news websites are morally wrong to show a video of a sexual assault on a St. Petersburg schoolboy, but there is no legal basis to demand they remove the clip, a local children’s rights official said on Tuesday.
Local news agency BaltInfo said several high school pupils raped a 13-year old boy with the handle of a shovel “under the pretext of returning a non-existent debt” and posted a video of their act on the internet. The video was later released by some St. Petersburg media with the faces of the pupils obscured and a message warning that it was not recommended viewing.
St. Petersburg’s ombudswoman for children’s rights, Svetlana Agipova, has demanded that the video be withdrawn, a spokesman said, but there is no legal case to force media to remove it from their websites.
“Some media have widely disseminated the video,” the spokesman said. “Svetlana Yuriyevna [Agipova] believes that this is absolutely unacceptable.”
“She urges journalists not to duplicate [the video], and remove the video, which contains scenes of violence, dealing with real people, from their websites,” he said, adding that with no law against showing the footage, the children’s rights watchdog could only issue the call to remove the video on moral grounds.
The spokesman said all the defendants in the case are teenagers who have not attained the age of criminal responsibility.
St. Petersburg media said that teachers of the school may have known about the incident but did not inform police.
The investigation is continuing.
ST. PETERSBURG, May 10 (RIA Novosti)