Russia deals yet another blow to internet freedom

Russia is the place where internet freedom goes to die. The country has added strict regulations, which went into effect yesterday, that give authorities frighteningly powerful oversight over the most-read personalities on the Russian internet, including bloggers and politicians.

The restrictions have come at a time when some of Russia’s most prominent independent online news websites have been blocked or strangled in recent months. Even as Russia’s television stations and newspapers began to fall prey to the Kremlin’s control, the internet has remained uncensored.

That’s all about to change, though. The internet is the final frontier for the Russian propaganda machine. Bloggers and activists claim that these new rules will encourage self-censorship online and create more risks for that who are advocating viewpoints contrary to those of the Kremlin.

These regulations are known as the “blogger law” because it requires anyone whose online presence draws more than 3,000 reader every day to register, disclose their personal information, and submit to the same regulations that the mass media does.

Critics of the regulations, for which there are many, claim that the rules are not only confusing, but poorly written, vague, and difficult to enforce. The clear goal of these regulations is to grant Russian authorities the legal power to fine or harass any online personality that they deem has disobeyed the new laws.

“Every blogger might face a threat of criminal prosecution,” said Oleg Kozyrev, a prominent opposition blogger, who said he had no intention of registering. “There is a tradition in Russian literature of fables, and of speaking figuratively and hinting,” he said. “They won’t say what they really mean, but people will guess.”

Read more about the story at The Washington Post.

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Russia is the place where internet freedom goes to die. The country has added strict regulations, which went into effect yesterday, that give authorities frighteningly powerful oversight over the most-read personalities on the Russian internet, including bloggers and politicians. The restrictions have come at a time when some of Russia’s...