Russian Duma Approves Internet Blacklist Bill
Posted in: Censorship at 15/07/2012 22:42
The Russian Duma overwhelmingly approved the controversial Internet regulation Bill № 89417-6. 441. A total of 441 out of 450 deputies representing all four party factions within the Duma, voted to support the bill. The regulations set forth within the bill, including the creation of a national blacklist and legal partnership with a content-monitoring bureau, are expected to go into effect in January after President Putin signs the bill into law.
Prime Minister Medvedev promoted the ruling at a meeting with United Russia party leadership in Moscow, and stated that the Internet "should be regulated by a set of rules, which mankind has yet to work out, and it's a very difficult process because we cannot regulate everything, nor can we leave [the Internet] outside the legal realm." These remarks are quite at odds with Medvedev's speech a year and a half ago at the 2011 World Economic Forum in Davos, where he said that "Russia will not support initiatives that put in doubt freedom in the Internet, freedom which is based on the requirements of morality and law." At this week's United Russia meeting, Medvedev also spoke of "basic rights and freedoms" such as the "right to be protected against harmful content."
Freedom of information threatened by website blacklisting and recriminalization of defamation
The lower house of the Russian parliament, the Duma, yesterday approved a bill on third reading that will allow the authorities to compile a website blacklist, fuelling concern about Internet filtering and censorship. The bill will have to be passed by the upper house and ratified by President Vladimir Putin before it takes effect.
The bill (Draft Law No. 89417-6), which amends the Law on Information, is intended to protect children from content regarded as particularly "harmful." Websites "containing pornography or extremist ideas, or promoting suicide or use of drugs" could be placed directly on the blacklist without referring to a court. In other cases, a court's approval would have to be obtained first.