News / Europe

    Russian Lawmakers Approve Internet Blacklist Measure

    Members of the State Duma, lower parliament chamber, is seen during a session in Moscow, Russia, July 10, 2012.Members of the State Duma, lower parliament chamber, is seen during a session in Moscow, Russia, July 10, 2012.
    x
    Members of the State Duma, lower parliament chamber, is seen during a session in Moscow, Russia, July 10, 2012.
    Members of the State Duma, lower parliament chamber, is seen during a session in Moscow, Russia, July 10, 2012.
    Russia's lower house of parliament has approved a bill that gives the government power to blacklist websites containing what officials consider objectionable material.

    The State Duma voted Wednesday on the measure, which proponents say is meant to protect young people from child pornography and information about suicide and drug use.

    The move comes one day after the Russian version of the online reference source Wikipedia staged a one-day shutdown to protest the legislation.

    Russian Wikipedia's title page on Tuesday featured a blacked-out logo and the message that the legislation could lead to the creation of extra-judicial censorship of the Internet in Russia.  It compared the proposals to China's heavily restrictive Internet firewall and called on readers to oppose the measure.

    Jay Walsh, a spokesman for the Wikimedia Foundation, which operates Wikipedia, says the Russian editors of the all-volunteer-written reference source decided among themselves to shut down the site for a day.  "This is all happening out of the Russian community," he says, adding that the editors fear the definition of objectionable material could be stretched to encompass far more than what is stated in the bill.  Noting that Wikipedia is set up as a so-called "free knowledge" project that relies on input from around the world, he says the Russian editors consider the legislation a threat to their freedom to contribute and publish freely.

    Nina Ognianova, the Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, says the new legislation is the latest piece in a pattern of Russian crackdowns on freedom of expression, along with higher fines for protest organizers and new regulations on non-governmental groups, or NGO's.

    "This is the third wave," she says.  "It's a part of a pattern of censoring, stopping the new civil society from being active."  She calls the Internet "the last bastion of press freedom and freedom of expression in Russia," a platform for alternative views, in a state where the print and televised media are heavily controlled by the government.

    Ognianova says the measure is "vaguely worded" and could be used by state authorities to suppress civil rights defenders and expression of views seen by the government as undesirable.

    The amendment is controversial even among Russian authorities.  Russia's minister of communications, Nikolai Nikiforov, used his social media Twitter feed Tuesday to criticize the bill - and the Wikipedia shutdown.  "I do not support Wiki's decision to close," he wrote.  "But this step is an important reaction from society, a sign that we need to amend the bill."

    Russia's human rights council, a government advisory group, has also spoken out against the legislation, saying it could lead to "massive blocking" of sites with legal content.

    The measure's backers say it is merely meant to protect children from information that harms their health and development.

    You May Like

    Post-White House, Obamas to Rent Washington Mansion

    Nine-bedroom home is 3 kilometers from Oval Office, near capital's Embassy Row; rent estimated at around $22,000 a month

    Red Planet? Not so much!

    New research suggest that Mars is in a warm period between cyclical ice ages, and that during Ice Age Maximum over 500,000 years ago, the red planet was decidedly ice, and much whiter to the naked eye.

    Taj Mahal Battles New Threat from Insects

    Swarms of insects are proliferating in the heavily contaminated waters of the Yamuna River, which flows behind the 17th century monument

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Alex from: Russia
    July 14, 2012 3:54 AM
    When I get old I think I'll keep saying to young folks thatback in the days, in my youth, the internet was FREE

    by: Anonymous
    July 12, 2012 12:30 PM
    HE IS A MADMAN!

    by: Mike
    July 11, 2012 6:23 PM
    Russian Tsar Putin is afraid of freedom of speech and of the Russian opposition. This is the main reason for adopting a law on Internet censorship. Similarly, the Soviet authorities were afraid of the Western media and Western radio stations were jammed. Now the Internet is growing rapidly in Russia and presents a direct threat to the authoritarian government of Russia. It is quite possible that soon many sites, including the Voice of America, will be blocked in Russia.

    by: ADEL ALSHEAR ABDUL from: STOCKHOM SWEDEN
    July 11, 2012 4:38 PM
    THIS IS IN BY NOW TIME CAN A HAVE FROM ALL WOLRD AS THIS IS ONLY HAVE WAY THIS IS WAY ANTI K G B . THIS IS ONLY WAY HAVE THIS IS WAY ANTI COMMUNIST RUSSIA POLITIC PARTY .

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora