News / Europe

Russia's Internet Censor Law Goes Into Effect

Opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov votes during the first meeting of the Russian opposition Coordination Council in Moscow, October 27, 2012.
Opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov votes during the first meeting of the Russian opposition Coordination Council in Moscow, October 27, 2012.
VOA News
Russia has begun enforcing a new law that allows the government to ban websites containing what it considers objectionable material.

Supporters say the law, which was signed by President Vladimir Putin earlier this year, is meant to protect young people from child pornography and information about suicide and drug use.

But critics says the vague wording could be used to block opposition websites and enables the government to selectively choose which sites to blacklist.

The Internet law follows the swift passage of a series of other Russian laws this year restricting civic freedoms and foreign influence. Lawmakers on Wednesday passed a treason bill that makes it a crime to give information deemed harmful to foreign-based non-governmental organizations. Other recently passed measures include laws that criminalize slander, tighten restrictions on non-governmental groups with foreign funding, and curb public protests.

Jeffrey Mankoff, from the Center for Strategic and International Studies, says that in light of recent protests and demonstrations, the new laws and recent actions are signs that someone in the Kremlin is worried about the durability of the system.

"They're trying to lash out in ways to shore up what they think are their weak points," said Mankoff. "It is unfortunate because I think they misunderstand the nature of the challenge they face. It's not divided opposition, it's not State Department funding for democracy promotion that's really the source of the problem. It's a question of can they establish a legitimacy with the public?"

Mankoff says it appears as though the government does not have a plan for where to take the country and for convincing people they can get there.

"Putin's in power for at least another six years, but what he wants to do over the course of those six years seems completely undefined," he said.

The Kremlin has consistently maintained that it is operating within the law and is merely taking action against violent, unsanctioned protests in an attempt to strengthen security, and keep the public safe.

Critics say the new legislation is designed to suppress information and stifle dissent.

You May Like

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in pubic More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid