Google pays fine to Russian media watchdog amid illegal content row

Google pays fine to Russian media watchdog amid illegal content row
US media giant Google has paid a fine to Russian authorities over its non-compliance with the country's laws – namely, the apparent refusal to exclude blocked and illegal resources from results on its search engine.

Google has transferred the funds it was ordered to pay following an administrative case in Russia, a spokesman for the Russian media watchdog, Roscomnadzor, confirmed on Friday.

According to a new Russian law, which took effect last year, operators of internet search engines must exclude results for websites, blocked in Russia. Such content includes blocked websites, extremist materials, child pornography, advertising of illegal drugs and other off-limits stuff.

Roscomnadzor has repeatedly explained the new legislation to Google, urging it to comply with it. The media giant, on its part, argued that it adheres to the law, yet the illegal content continued to show up on the company's search engine.

While all the major search engines complied with the law, Google has become so far the only one to be slapped with a fine for non-compliance. The fine appears to be very modest – for Google at least – and amounts to ‘only’ 500 thousand rubles (some $ 7,600).

If the company continues to ignore Russian legislation it will be targeted with new proceedings, which would result in a 700 thousand ruble fine ( some $10,700), Roscomnadzor warned. While the Russian media watchdog earlier said it was not seeking to block Google altogether, continued non-compliance might ultimately result in such a harsh measure.

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