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Russia Cracks Down On Internet Porn

RussianXXtasy at the 2013 AVN Expo
Image by Michael Dorausch

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Russia has long officially been against LGBTQ propaganda to Russian youth. With the Russian Orthodox Church firmly ensconced in the halls of power in the Kremlin, it seems online porn is now a target for Russian regulators.

Media watchdog Roskomnadzor is looking at ways to ban online services from showing films and series that promote “non-traditional sexual relationships and sexual deviancy”, Vedomosti newspaper reported Tuesday. Shows of this nature would be grounds to block a streaming service. In addition, Roskomnadzor is considering extending a ban on the promotion of ‘non-traditional sexual relations’ to minors — infringements could be punished by a fine of up to 1 million rubles ($13,630) or a 90-day suspension. Roskomnadzor fined streaming services Megogo, Okko, ivi and Kinopoisk on Tuesday for failing to show advertising about the dangers of tobacco, reported Russian media outlet ‘The Bell’.

In addition, Roskomnadzor began this week issuing warnings to online movie services over sexual content and bad language. This largely affected Megogo (one of Russia’s top 10 online movie theaters) after it screened Russian movie Nobody knows about sex. Roskomnadzor’s objection was that the film aired with a 16+ certificate, not an 18+ rating. However, when the film was released in 2006, the Minister of Culture approved a 16+ rating. Megogo subsequently changed the rating to 18+ and bleeped out offensive words. Similar demands — less swearing, less sex — were made in writing to other online streaming services like ivi, Start and Kion, employees told Vedomosti.

Like the rest of the Russian movie business, online services also face direct political pressure. Acceptable topics for new movies or series are heavily restricted — with elections, officials, corruption and LBGT+ topics especially problematic — the BBC Russian Service reported earlier this month. The BBC Russian Service found that actors who express support for jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny find it almost impossible to find work. A PR representative from one online streaming service said that, in the build-up to September’s parliamentary elections, actors were instructed to ‘behave normally’ — code for no criticism of the president, or the ruling United Russia party.  

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