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Duma Tightens Control Over Bloggers, Social Networks

Russia's State Duma has passed tough new restrictions on social-networking sites and bloggers.

Deputies on April 22 backed legislation that obligates companies engaged in the transfer of electronic messages -- including foreign firms such as Google -- to register with state communications bodies.

It also stipulates those companies must store information on all the messages routed through their site for six months at an Internet provider located on Russian territory.

It also obligates bloggers whose personal websites or pages on social networks have 3,000 or more visitors per day to declare their family name and e-mail address to authorities.

Bloggers will also have to abide by rules applicable to mass media, including libel, extremism, and the authenticity of published information or face first-time penalties of up to $1,000.

The New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists on April 23 said the legislation invites "both its abuse by Russian authorities to silence its critics and self-censorship on the part of bloggers."
Based on reporting by, ITAR-TASS, and Interfax

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