Remained inactive for 24 hours
MOSCOW – Wikipedia closed Tuesday in Russian place for 24 hours to protest a bill that would give broad powers to Moscow to put on a blacklist of certain Web sites.
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Government action is the latest sign of a legislative surge that seems destined to neutralize growing opposition movement to President Vladimir Putin.
Lawmakers say the bill, which must be reviewed on Tuesday in Parliament, seeks to protect children. Supporters say it allows the government to block sites showing child pornography, teen suicides promote or disseminate drug information.
But critics argue that it gives authorities too broad to subjectively select which sites to include in the blacklist. The Kremlin has made no comment on the project, but among the legislators who drafted it were some of the party of Putin. It is likely to be approved.
Protests on the Internet
The project comes after other recent laws have targeted groups that the president Vladimir Putin seen as rivals or bad influences: a law imposing heavy fines on the protesters was quickly passed in Parliament in June, and another label to the NGOs that receive foreign aid as “foreign agents” has just been approved last week.
So far the Internet has been relatively free from control of government restrictions or fire breaks. Although activists against the government or the media have often been victims of attempted attacks of hackers in recent years, the government has largely left the internet as an unregulated space for political debate.
The new bill provoked a wave of online protests and many expressed support for the actions of Wikipedia.