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Friday, April 25, 2014

Russia cracks down on blogging freedom

New 'anti-terrorism' law forbids certain bloggers from anonymous postings; penalties can include fines and suspensions of sites.

Authority in the former Soviet republic of Russia has tightened laws for bloggers, with the cry of 'national security' being the justification; claiming the new law aligns bloggers with traditional news media, it requires the owner of any blog with more than 3,000 daily visits to identify themselves in their missives - essentially penalizing the notion of 'anonymous' blogging - or face fines of up to $1,000 and website suspensions of up to one month.

The law further demands that those who fall into the above-category provide their personal information to an official list, thus subjecting them to additional scrutiny; free-press advocates are lambasting the measure, calling it an effort to intimidate government critics into submission and away from posting negative opinions of officialdom, thus silencing dissent.

Many nations have made moves to curtail the rights of bloggers over the last few years, with crackdowns in Russia, Iran and China being commonplace; even the supposedly 'free' United States has not been immune from this behavior, where efforts to define bloggers as something 'less than journalists' have been vigorously pursued, in the hope that by so doing they could legally deny free-press protections to said-bloggers.

Anonymous political scribes have been around nearly as long as the printing press, with many now-famous works first being published as 'Anonymous;' for example, Thomas Paine's "Common Sense" was initially an anonymous work, thus it is understandable that modern authoritarian regimes would feel threatened - even terrified - by those who write without identifying themselves.

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