Putin Signs New Law Requiring Bloggers to Register

Posted on May 7, 2014

Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed a new law requiring bloggers to register. A New York Times story on the law says, "Russia quietly tightens reins on web with 'Bloggers Law.' Reporters Without Borders says the new bill defines a blogger as "a person who posts open information on a personal page" that gets at least 3,000 visits a day. This can also include microblogs and social networks.

Bloggers will have to register with Roskomnadzor, which will keep track of the amount of visitors a blog gets. Roskomnadzor is Russia's Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media. It is a Russian federal executive body responsible for overseeing all the media.

Under the new bill bloggers are required to respect the electoral law and avoid using swear words. Bloggers may not hide or falsify information. Bloggers are also held responsible for comments on their blogs. Bloggers will also have to post their names, email address and physical address. In other words, bloggers can no longer remain anonymous under Bloggers Law. Reporters Without Borders says the language is vaguely worded which potentially gives the government multiple ways to find blogs in violation of it.

The New York Times story says Yandex and LiveJournal have already announced plans to halt publicly visible hit counters below 3,000 in an attempt to keep Russian bloggers using their services from having to register with Roskomnadzor. The Times says fines of up to $142,000 can be implemented under the new law on bloggers violating any of the draconian rules. Blogs can also be temporarily closed.

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