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Regulator Blocks 4 Sites Under Anti-Extremism Law

The Federal Mass Media Inspection Service, or Roskomnadzor, blocked four web sites after new amendments came into force and allowed them to cut off access to online sources suspected of extremism without a court sanction.

One of the pages blocked under amendments to "law on Information belonged to the Livejournal blogging platform, which was promptly included in the registry of banned sites by the authorities, the service said in a statement.

Livejournal was removed from the registry as soon as the site's administration had removed the illegal content, the regulator said.

The regulator did not name other online sources that were blacklisted. noting only that they were blocked for "socially dangerous information, representing a threat to society and individuals."

The new law, signed Thursday by President Vladimir Putin, allows authorities to block access to online sources containing calls to public disorders, extremist activities and participating in unauthorized public events without a court order based solely on a prosecutor's request to the Roskomnadzor. The owners of banned sites receive notifications only after their sites have already been blocked and must remove the illegal content in order to have access restored.

Human rights activists and representatives of the online community have criticized the law, calling it attempt by the authorities to suppress freedom of speech in Russia.

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