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More Than 180 Websites Put on Internet Blacklist in First Week

The Mass Media Inspection Service banned more than 180 websites after receiving a flood of complaints in the first three days new restrictions were in force, the service’s head said Friday.

Alexander Zharov told journalists in Novosibirsk that over the course of three days, more than 6,000 complaints had been submitted about websites allegedly containing content that could be harmful to children, including child pornography, material encouraging suicide, and information on drug production and distribution, Interfax reported.

Individuals, businesses, organizations and government bodies can submit requests that the agency review a given website and place it on a blacklist.

The list was created on Nov. 1 by legislation allowing restriction of content that the government deems illegal or harmful to children.

Free-speech advocates have voiced concern that the law’s current wording makes it possible for entire websites to be shut down if one page on the site contains offending material.

Zharov said Internet providers have actively responded to notifications of “negative information” on pages they host. He said the country’s largest social network, VKontakte, had acted particularly quickly in taking down restricted content.

The blacklist is not publicly available. Zharov did not specify which Web pages had been blocked so far.

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