London, Nov 1: A new law in Russia that aims to protect children from harmful internet content by allowing the government to remove such websites has finally taken effect in the country.
The law was approved by both houses of parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin in July.
According to the BBC, the authorities are now able to blacklist and force offline certain websites without a trial.
The authorities have claimed that the goal is to protect minors from websites featuring sexual abuse of children, offering details about how to commit suicide, encouraging users to take drugs and sites that solicit children for pornography.
Human rights groups have, however, said the legislation might increase censorship in the country.
According to the report, they call it another attempt by Putin to exercise control over the population.
“Of course there are websites that should not be accessible to children, but I don’t think it will be limited to that,” Yuri Vdovin, vice-president of Citizens’ Watch, a human rights organisation based in Saint-Petersburg, said..
“The government will start closing other sites – any democracy-oriented sites are at risk of being taken offline. It will be [an attack on] the freedom of speech on the internet,” Vdovin added. (ANI)