UK & World News

  • 1 August 2014, 16:14

Russian Bloggers Forced To Register With State

A far-left writer, a crime novelist and travel photographer are among the first Russian bloggers ordered to register with the state under draconian new web laws.

Russia's upper house of Parliament has voted through a series of amendments to the law, which were proposed by president Vladimir Putin.

From Friday, all bloggers with at least 3,000 daily readers have to register with state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor and disclose their real identity.

They are barred from using hate speech, "extremist calls" and obscene language.

They must also abide by the same laws as traditional media and verify all information before publishing it.

Those who breach the rules face fines ranging between the equivalent of 170 and 8,500.

Roskomnadzor representatives say that any blogger who does not register - no matter where in the world they are located - will have their content blocked within Russia's borders.

The government said the controls are needed "to formalise the definition of blogging in Russian law".

Russian website Izvestia says the first to receive notices from Roskomnadzor include travel photographer Sergey Dolya, crime novelist Boris Akunin and satirist Mikhail Zadornov.

As a result of the changes to the law, search engine Yandex has stopped publishing blog statistics, while LiveJournal caps published blog readership stats at "2,500+".

Russia is Europe's fastest-growing internet audience, with 61 million users.

Mr Putin has previously described the internet as a CIA project.

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