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Russia, which is home to almost 30 million of Europe's 350 million Internet users may begin to extend its strict media censorship laws to the Internet, according to a report in the AFP. State newspaper Rossiiskaya Gazeta reported today that Russia's prosecutor's office wants to toughen its "anti-extremism" laws on the web. Most newspapers and television are already under some form of governmental control, which makes the Internet one of the last places for free press in the country. New proposals would begin to erode the last bastion of press freedom in the country.
"The Internet is the freest area of the media in Russia," writes the AFP. Under current laws, Russian newspapers and television stations may be shut down by the government for printing or broadcasting content deemed extreme. A new proposal would extend that law to Internet web sites, which would need to be blocked "within a month" by ISPs if found to be publishing content what the government considers too extreme.
Suprisingly, surveys show that many Russians actually favor government control of the media. A 2005 study found that 82% of Russians were in favor of censorship on television, though generally that referred to the removal of "ethically questionable" material (such as sex or violence) rather than the supression of free political thought. It should be noted that Article 29 of the Russian Constitution guarantees freedom of the press.
"It is a worry whenever the government tries to change any law," Oleg Panfilov, director of the Centre of Journalism in Extreme Situations, told the AFP. "It is difficult to find anyone who is not against extremism but it depends on how the law is used. The government uses (it) selectively."
Seems like these power and control freak leaders are desperately trying to stem the flow of any non-propegandational information...