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

Obama: I Will Do 'Everything I Can' to Close Guantanamo

US president says prison continues 'to inspire jihadists and extremists around the world' More

Sierra Leone Educates on Safe Ebola Burials

Also, country is improving at rapid response to isolated outbreaks, but health workers need to be even faster, officials say More

Religion Aside, Christmas Gains Popularity in Communist Vietnam

Increasingly wealthy Vietnamese embrace holiday due to its non-religious glamor, commercial appeal More

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.
US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubansi
X
Sharon Behn
December 19, 2014 9:34 PM
For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video US Decision on Cuba Underscores Divisions Among Miami Cubans

For decades, older, more conservative Cubans have been gathering at Café Versailles on the corner of Calle Ocho to eat Cuban food and talk politics. After hearing of President Barack Obama’s decision, a number of them gathered in front of the café with posters to protest. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on the situation.
Video

Video Three Cities Bid for Future Obama Presidential Library

President Barack Obama still has two years left in his term in office, but the effort to establish his post-presidential library is already underway. The bid for the Obama Presidential Library is down to four locations in three states -- New York, Hawaii, and Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, each of them played an important part in the president’s life before he reached the White House.
Video

Video Cuba Deal is Major Victory for Pope’s Diplomatic Initiatives

Pope Francis played a key role in brokering the US-Cuba deal that was made public earlier this week. It is the most stunning success so far in a series of peacemaking efforts by the pontiff. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Fears of More Political Gridlock in 2015

2014 proved to be a difficult year politically for President Barack Obama and a very good year for the U.S. Republican Party. Republican gains in the November midterm elections gave them control of the Senate and House of Representatives for the next two years -- setting the stage for more confrontation and gridlock in the final two years of the Obama presidency. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone has a preview from Washington.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.

All About America

AppleAndroid