It is a bad time to be a blogger in Russia


If you’ve been following then you probably know of that time when Media Council of Kenya CEO Harun Mwangi suggested that the body be charged with the responsibility of “accrediting” bloggers after they have undergone journalistic training (i.e diploma or degree in Mass Communication). There was a backlash from the blogging community in Kenya and resulted in MCK taking a step back with deputy CEO Victor Bwire coming out to clarify that the council meant no harm and never intends to “gag” anyone and that their focus at that time was to call on “journalists who blog” to do so while still sticking to accepted journalistic standards. I am sure we are far from done with this discussion since its never been entirely put to rest. That is locally, abroad (in Russia), things are getting interesting never mind what an American court ruled recently.

The Kremlin
The Kremlin

Russia has passed a law that requires everyone who blogs or has a blog in that country to declare to the state their family name, initials and e-mail address. That is the standard for all bloggers or rather the “smallwig” in Kenyan social media parlance. The “bigwig” bloggers i.e those who have an average of over 3000 visitors per day will have to register in a special list and have to abide by the same rules and regulations that mainstream mass media adheres to.

These rules include the requirement that they must verify the information before posting i.e confirm authenticity of information they’ll be passing on to their readers. Posting of violent or pornographic content or anything that the Kremlin deems to be out of bounds (like extremist posts or terrorist posts) is also prohibited as is disclosure of private information. While there’s obviously some good intention in that, it is thought that the powers that be in that country introduced this regulation of bloggers so as to shield themselves as bloggers were exposing their scandalous ways. The penalty for not abiding by the set rules is suspension of the site at the worst or a fine.

Source: The Verge