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Russia’s Media Regulator Granted Powers to Block all LGBT Sites

Natalia Makarova / Kommersant

The Russian government has granted its media regulator the authority to block websites containing “LGBT propaganda” without a court order, according to a decree published on Monday.

“Information propagating non-traditional sexual relations and (or) preferences” now serves as grounds for blacklisting any website in Russia, alongside those containing child pornography, information about suicide methods, and illegal narcotic production.

“Propaganda of pedophilia and sex change” is also listed in the government decree signed by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin.

The expansion of state censorship comes following President Vladimir Putin's signing into law amended legislation that bans the depiction of non-heterosexual identities and relationships to Russians of any age earlier in December. 

Lawmakers have drafted a bill that allows for the jailing of those who have already been fined under Putin’s earlier anti-LGBT law, which banned aiming “LGBT propaganda” at minors. Under the draft legislation, repeat offenders could be sentenced to up to five years in jail.

In April, Russia’s federal media regulator Roskomnadzor blocked the online women’s magazine Wonderzine for its LGBT content after a complaint from the government’s youth policy agency.

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