Russian President Vladimir Putin is taking names. Potentially thousands.
The former KGB colonel, concerned with how social media can be used to undermine his authority, this month expanded his regulation of media to the blogosphere, requiring those with at least 3,000 daily readers to register their real names and contact information. So far, about 580 bloggers in Russia have applied to register with the country’s communications regulator Roskomnadzor.
The government says this is needed so it can remove inaccurate or defamatory information on the Internet. But some bloggers fear it will limit free speech, allow Putin to close down blogs he doesn’t like and give him an excuse to block sites such as Twitter in the future.
The total number of bloggers who are required to register may be several thousand. Roskomnadzor may shut down the accounts of those who don’t follow the new rule. Roskomnadzor sent Eduard Limonov and Boris Akunin, who are known for their opposition to the government, requests to register their blogs, according to the daily newspaper Izvestia.
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