Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed several internet censorship laws into force, including one that introduces crippling fines for failing to remove banned material.
Although sexually explicit content is technically legal in Russia, existing
laws banning the illegal production, dissemination and advertisement of pornographic materials and objects and other laws claiming to protect the health of Russian children are deployed by the state at its own discretion against sites hosting adult
The end-of-the-year legislative package signed into law by Putin, according to Reuters , also grants the Russian government new powers to restrict U.S. social media giants, label individuals 'foreign agents,' and to crack down on the
disclosure of its security officers' personal data.
One of the measures was a response complaints about supposed bias and prejudice shown by Facebook, Twitter and YouTube against Russian media. If social media companies block Russian websites then
these social media websites will be blocked in Russia.
Another of the new laws introduces hefty fines of up to 20% of their previous year's Russia-based turnover for sites that repeatedly fail to remove content banned in Russia.
The Russian government has demanded that Google censor a news story that accuses the nation of artificially reducing the reported number of deaths from COVID-19. The news data, however, comes from government-run institutions and official records.
nation's internet censor, the Roskomnadzor, is trying to remove a news item from the MBKh Media website for being considered disinformation. In fact the MBKh Media article was based on a piece published by the Financial Times, and that piece also is
under scrutiny by Roskomnadzor.
The news in question states that the Russian government is trying to reduce the actual COVID-19 death toll by attributing the deaths to other diseases. According to the report, the death toll should be at least 70%
higher, which means that the actual death toll would be close to 5,000. Moscow's Health Department confirmed that the reports are based on their data.
To block the news, the Roskomnadzor has turned to Google directly since MBKh Media has refused to
delete the report.
Maybe the Russian censors should consider that its reputation for censoring embarrassing but true information means that the act of censorship ends up reinforcing the credibility of what's being censored. Maybe then attempts to
censor say 5G theories may end up enforcing the conspiracy.