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Russia’s anti-freedom “blogger law” has come into effect

The new law requiring Russian bloggers to register as media entities and hold themselves to the same standards as a full media organization has come into effect today. First signed info force by President Vladamir Putin in May this year, it’s now applicable to all blogs that manage to attract more than 3,000 unique visitors per day. Essentially, what this means is a bigger workload for any bloggers that wish to carry on running the sites in their spare time. From today, any blogs covered by the new law will need to register with the relevant authorities, according to The report adds that the law notes that the physical location of the authors makes no difference to the application of it – if it’s written in Russian and targetting a Russian audience it will need to comply or be blocked from access within the country.

Russia’s shrinking space for freedom of expression on the Internet is set to constrict further Friday, as tough regulations go into effect that will give Russian authorities powerful oversight over the country’s most-read online personalities, including opposition bloggers and politicians. The restrictions come as some of Russia’s most prominent independent online news Web sites have been blocked or gutted in recent months, and at a crucial juncture in the Ukrainian conflict, which has raised tensions between Russia and the West to levels not seen since the Cold War. The Internet in Russia had long been a largely uncensored arena even as the nation’s television stations and newspapers toed an ­ever-stricter Kremlin line. The new regulations, bloggers and activists say, will encourage online self-censorship and will create new risks for those who advocate contrarian viewpoints. The set of regulations coming into effect Friday is known here as the “blogger law” because it requires any person whose online presence draws more than 3,000 daily readers to register, disclose personal information and submit to the same regulations as mass media. Critics — including some pro-Kremlin lawmakers — say the rules are confusing, poorly written and hard to enforce consistently. But the end effect is to put large swaths of Russia’s prominent online personalities in theoretical violation of the law at all times, risking fines and other harassment whenever authorities decide to crack down, critics say. Starting Friday, “every blogger might face a threat of criminal prosecution,” said Oleg Kozyrev, a prominent opposition blogger, who said he does not intend to register his Web site.

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Written by Rocco Penn

A tech blogger, social media analyst, and general promoter of all things positive in the world. "Bring it. I'm ready." Find me on Media Caffeine, Twitter, and Facebook.

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