Thousands protest 'total censorship' | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, March 11, 2019 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, March 11, 2019

RUSSIA'S 'INTERNET ISOLATION'

Thousands protest 'total censorship'

Thousands of people rallied against Russia's increasingly restrictive internet policies yesterday which some say will eventually lead to "total censorship" and isolate the country from the world.

The mass rally in Moscow and smaller events in other cities across the country was called after the Russian lower house of parliament backed a bill to stop Russian internet traffic from being routed on foreign servers, in a bid to boost cybersecurity.

The move was labelled by critics as the latest attempt to control online content under President Vladimir Putin, with some fearing the country is on track to completely isolate its network like in North Korea.

Activists counting people said more than 15,000 people have turned up to listen to internet and media rights activists as well as music performers who have complained of government pressure in recent months.

Police detained several people without explanation.

The bill has not yet been voted on in key second reading. A petition against the bill launched by the Roskomsvoboda internet freedoms group calls on Russians to appeal to lawmakers to strike the bill down, "otherwise soon we will be living in anti-utopias of Orwell," it says.

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