Russian lawmakers have approved a range of new measures that could further stifle dissent and allow tighter restrictions on online content — including blocking websites like YouTube and Twitter. NPR reports: One bill would allow for the blocking of foreign websites that it says “discriminate” against Russian media. A second law would allow it to levy large fines against companies that don’t take down content banned in the country. A third law would establish jail terms for those convicted of making slanderous comments online or in the media. A person found guilty of slander could face up to two years in jail and be fined up to 1 million rubles (about $13,300), Reuters reports. The bills were passed by Russia’s lower house, the State Duma. If they become law, as expected, they would mean that Russia could block websites like YouTube, Facebook and Twitter that label content produced by Russian state media outlets as being just that. Under the legislation, Russian authorities will be able to block or slow down such sites.
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