Russia’s media regulator has been given authority to block LGBTQ-related content online.
The Moscow Times reports that the Russian government issued the decree on Monday. It comes less than a month after Russia expanded its anti-LGBTQ+ propaganda law to extend to people of all ages, and not just minors.
The new decree grants the media regulator the power to block websites containing “Information propagating non-traditional sexual relations and (or) preferences” and “Propaganda of pedophilia and sex change,” according to a translation provided by The Moscow Times.
The decree is the Russian government’s latest attempt to clamp down on LGBTQ+ individuals and organizations. In 2013, the country passed a law banning the display of LGBTQ+ content to minors. The law was also used to ban public displays, including Pride marches and parades, which could possibly be viewed by children.
In early December, the government approved measures that would expand the existing law, extending it to adults as well as minors.
Proponents of Russia’s laws claim they are necessary to safeguard the country’s traditional values. In October, as the expansion was making its way through the Russian Parliament, lawmaker Alexander Khinstein called the bill “a special operation” which “takes place not only on the battlefield but also in the minds and souls of the people,” Agence France-Presse (AFP) reported at the time.
Critics of the law argue that it not only violates human rights, but also allows President Vladimir Putin to tighten his grip on power and further control all aspects of Russian life.