Medvedev denies Russia's Internet laws repressive

Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev denied on Tuesday that Russian laws on the Internet are repressive.

"It's impossible to call those laws repressive because so far not a single resource has been banned or disconnected," Medvedev said at a joint news conference in Paris with French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault.

Mistakes that had been made, such as blocking access to video-sharing website YouTube, were put right quickly, Medvedev said. "I hope that this will be the case in the future as well," he said. "We'll sort out in Russia what to regulate and how to do this, and United Russia and others will make necessary decisions."

A Russian law to protect children from information "dangerous for their health and development" that came into force on Nov. 1 authorizes the blocking of websites via IP addresses if they carry content that is under a judicial ban in Russia or if an executive authority considers such content unlawful.

Such sites are put on an official register.

If the register operator notifies an Internet provider that illegal content has been detected on a website or webpage, the provider must within 24 hours report this to the website owner, insisting that the latter immediately remove the unlawful content.

If the owner fails to do so within 24 hours, the provider must block access to the site. If this does not happen, the site's IP address must be put on the register. The communications operator must block access to the banned content within the next 24 hours.

The register was launched by media watchdog Roskomnadzor on the www.zapret-info.gov.ru website on Nov.1. On Nov. 9, Roskomnadzor chief Alexander Zharov said the watchdog was daily receiving between 200 and 300 appeals to block web content.

On November 12, the Lurkmore encyclopedia, library Internet portal Librusec and the BitTorrent tracker RuTracker were blacklisted. They were taken off the register after removing content that had been held against them.

YouTube also ended up on the register on Nov. 21, but was taken off the list after an hour. "The undesirable information has been removed. The address of the website stayed on the register for a while because of a technical fault," Roskomnadzor said that day.

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