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Putin prohibits communication that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia,” effectively muzzling his people.

2019-03-19

The Russian Parliament has passed, and Putin has signed, a new law that prohibits dissemination of any information that “exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia.”

In the case of such items on the internet, the Russian prosecutor will have the power to immediately block the offending communication before criminal proceedings are pursued.  So the censorship will be much more efficient without the need for court review.

This is the most blatant censorship legislation on offer today.  Even before this legislation was signed into law, the authorities have unofficially punished anyone who has made offending statements anyway.  But the law makes it much easier to justify doing so in public.

Those who think that we can be friends with the Russian government should think twice.  The opposition to the Russian government has been rendered completely voiceless with this law.  There is no way to have an honest relationship with a government that muzzles its people.  No-one can believe their denials of malign activity.

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