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Fines Proposed for Posting Extremist Content

There are currently 1,256 items on the list of extremist materials. Andrei Makhonin

Authorities are proposing introducing fines and short prison stays for those placing hyperlinks to "extremist content" on the Internet, media reports said Tuesday.

According to a copy of the proposed amendments on the Communications and Press Ministry website, penalties for including links to extremist content could stretch to 3,000 rubles ($90) or a 15-day administrative sentence, Vedomosti reported.

In another amendment, mass media outlets accused of extremist activity could be fined up to 300,000 rubles. Fines for outlets judged to promote terrorism could reach 1 million rubles.

Authorities consider content "extremist" after the Prosecutor General's Office files a complaint and the Justice Ministry includes the item in the federal list of extremist materials.

There are currently 1,256 items on the list of extremist materials. For the most part, leaflets, songs, video clips by nationalists, separatists and radical Islamist groups make up the list.

Prosecutor General Yury Chaika has repeatedly backed strengthening the fight against extremism.

"It is essential to develop on the federal level a working mechanism to limit access to Internet resources that spread extremist ideas," he said in front on the Federal Council in May.

But bloggers and experts consulted by Vedomosti considered the latest amendments absurd and ineffective.

"This is beyond my understanding, we're heading toward dictatorship," said Rustem Adagamov, a well-known blogger who writes under the name drugoi.

Irina Levova, an analyst at the Russian Association for Electronic Communications, said international experience has shown that the proposals would hinder the development of the country's Web-based economy and society.

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