A new law has gone into effect in Russia that requires bloggers with more than 3,000 daily visitors to register with the government — a development critics say will place undue pressure on independent web authors.
The law that took effect on Friday requires such bloggers to register as mass media organizations and thereby subjects them to regulations that forbid publishing false information, hate speech, or obscenities.
Bloggers must provide the state media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, with their personal information, and they will be responsible even for the content of readers' comments published on their blogs.
An individual blogger who refuses to comply can be fined up to $1,400 and have their content blocked on Russian territory. A non-compliant organization can be fined up to $14,000.
The newspaper Izvestia reported Friday that Roskomnadzor has already drawn up a list of seven bloggers who will be informed that they must register their blogs as mass media outlets. The list includes novelist Boris Akunin, radical writer, Eduard Limonov, a comedian and actor, Mikhail Galustyan, and photographer, Sergei Dolya.