Russia blocks news site for anti-Putin graffiti under new law
MOSCOW, April 15 (Reuters) – Russian authorities blocked a regional news website over the weekend over a report about graffiti insulting Vladimir Putin, its chief editor said, under a new ban on insulting officials online.
The legislation, which Putin signed into law last month, allows authorities to block sites that carry content deemed to show “blatant disrespect”.
Kremlin critics say the measure is a form of direct state censorship. The law’s authors say it is needed to preserve healthy public debate online.
The 76.Ru news site in Yaroslavl, northeast of Moscow, was blocked by state media watchdog Roskomnadzor for more than 12 hours on April 12-13, Chief Editor Olga Prokhorova said.
She said Roskomnadzor informed 76.Ru after the site had been blocked that its report about graffiti on the columns of a local police station crudely slurring Putin contained information that had been flagged under the law against insulting authorities.
After the news site removed a photograph of the graffiti from the report and sent a screenshot to Roskomnadzor, the site was unblocked, Prokhorova said. The amended report about the graffiti was accessible on Monday, but did not mention what it said.