Russian Parliament Approves Internet Censorship Bill

In the rest of the world websites can go dark, post commentary, or engage in various forms of protests to let governments and corporations know how they feel about a particular issue. But as this Mashable report points out, in Russia it causes the government to fast track an immediate legislative solution to these kinds of "problems." Earlier this week the Russian Parliament approved Bill 89417-6, a law that critics say allows the government to blacklist any website that publishes material it deems to be offensive. Under the new law websites have a 24 hour window to remove "offending material" after posting it.

While politicians list materials that the average internet user would deem offensive or repulsive – such as child pornography, instructions on how to commit suicide, drug propaganda, etc. – critics say that it eliminates due process. Many are also concerned that the government will likely use this new law to ban websites that it doesn't like or that promote messages that are not in line with the government's beliefs such as Wikipedia, Livejournal and Yandex. Several major sites read by Russians are protesting the new bill with blackouts.

While the bill has been approved, it won't officially become law until President Vladimir Putin signs it. Most believe, given his aggressive stance against protestors and dissenters in the country, that he will sign it without any reservations.

While the parliament approved the bill, not every lawmaker in Russia thought it was such a great idea.

Gennady Gudkov, a member of parliament under the Just Russia party, called the governing body "a secretarial office that carries out somebody else’s wishes," while Anatoly Lokot of the Communist Party was less diplomatic with his words: "The goal of the bill is to wipe out dissent in our country."

Source: Mashable

"Moscow Kremlin at sunset" photo © 2012 S.Borisov / Shutterstock. All rights reserved, used with permission.

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