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Since Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a controversial law earlier in 2013 imposing stiff penalties for anyone convicted of distributing "gay propaganda", the law has generated international outrage and targeted gay and lesbian rights groups across Russia. After the law was upheld by Russia's Supreme Court in October, government censors released revised criteria for any online material that purportedly endangers minors.
Russian bloggers are wary of publishing any material that might be branded illegal under the new guidelines published in a report titled, "Criteria of Internet Content Harmful for Children’s Health and Development." The report which was released on December 2 designates any information published online as being "systematically disseminated" and punishes anyone deemed to be releasing "false information."
The report reads, in part, that "to qualify information as propaganda, it is necessary to establish that the author of the information wishes to influence public opinion, that the dissemination of the information is of a systematic nature, and that the disseminated information contains false information." According to the federal agency charging with overseeing online content, children and teenagers can have their values influenced by:
Among the things now classified as "gay propaganda" by the Russian government:
As the Sochi Olympics draw closer, the number of arrests over the new law will likely provoke further international condemnation and increasing pressure on Vladimir Putin's government. How the law is applied and who will be targeted remains to be seen.
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