Extremist connections: Russian bill targets hyperlink posters
The text of the amendments to the Russian Administrative Code was posted on the Communications Ministry’s website. They suggest that those who post links on extremist texts, broadcasts or videos should be fined from 2,000 – 5,000 rubles (approximately $60 – $150) if they act as private persons and 50,000-10,000 rubles (about $1,500 – $3,000) for legal entities. Those who have allowed the proposal would also grant the government the right to suspend any company’s operations for up to 90 days for allowing banned materials to be posted on its site.
If the suggested amendments are approved, the mass media will also be punished as legal entities, giving local courts the power to shut down them down for a relatively long period of time. The situation is further aggravated by the fact that the list of forbidden materials consists of works that are recognized as extremist by any district court throughout the Russian Federation. At present, there are 1256 works on the list, though it could grow further.
There are currently only two centers in Russia that can check internet posts for extremism. However, this past March, the then-serving Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev promised to open a network of special centers throughout the country specifically for this purpose. Rather than pass the task on to any of the government ministries, it was sent to the presidential plenipotentiaries in the regions.