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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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March 20, 2019

     Putin is controlling speech in Russia.  President Vladimir Putin has signed into law a set of bills that will make it illegal to spread "fake news." The legislation seeks to punish the distribution of information that "exhibits blatant disrespect for the society, government, official government symbols, constitution or governmental bodies of Russia.

     Prosecutors can direct their complaints about online media to the state, which can block access to websites if the offending material isn't taken down. This, experts say, is new. "The Prosecutor's office may now block such fake news sources prior to the judicial decision. It gives the Prosecutor's office an extremely high authority and almost completely eliminates the Russian (albeit completely non-free) courts from the game," Maria Snegovaya, an adjunct fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, wrote in an email.

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