Senators propose banning online feminist content

Russian politicians might include radical feminism and the child-free movement on internet blacklists

Russian senators have proposed a bill to make content promoting the feminist and childfree movements completely illegal, in a bid to stop so-called “radical” material from being posted online.

Senator Margarita Pavlova, one of the bill's authors, told RIA Novosti that lawmakers in the country's upper house of parliament were working on expanding the list of banned subject matter and intended to include radical feminist material and content promoting voluntary childlessness among the prohibited topics.

“We are working with Roskomnadzor on a bill to expand the lists of topics of destructive content to be blocked,” the senator said.

Roskomnadzor is the government body that oversees communications, information technology, and mass media.

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According to Pavlova, a large amount of online content appears at first to be promoting worthy causes – for example, gender equality – but it is, in fact, a facade. The senator said such content conceals material that encourages damaging ideas and activity.

“Under the guise of protecting the violated rights of women, traditional family values and the role of women in the family is belittled – so-called radical feminism,” she said. “Under the guise of freedom of choice, the idea of refusing to build a family and have children is promoted – so-called childlessness.”

The expansion of the internet blacklist will take into account the views of various parent communities, as well as structures that monitor social networking sites. Russia's most popular domestic social media platform, VKontakte, which has over 90 million monthly users, could be part of the problem, Pavlova added.

“I get more and more complaints about our social network VKontakte,” she said. “There, too, all this destructive content is present, and sometimes users, even with complaints, cannot block certain information.”

Furthermore, the senator noted her optimism that the prominent presence of legislation in the virtual world will aid efforts to ensure internet safety for young Russian users, who are often the targeted victims of online hate and harm.

“I think this year will be a turning point, since we already see what steps need to be taken,” she concluded.

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