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Russia bans popular gay website for violating propaganda law

Gay.ru is Russia's longest-running LGBT website

2018-04-01

Russia has banned its oldest gay website for violating the country's gay propaganda law. 

The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, also known as Roskomnadzor, issued the website a ban notice for violating the country's anti-LGBT law earlier this week, the Moscow Times reports.

Gay.ru, which runs articles on LGBT topics, revealed on Friday (March 30) that Roskomnadzor had issued them the notice claiming that the site "disseminated information that promotes non-traditional sexual relations." 

The notice also claimed that the website may "incite interest [for minors] to try non-traditional sexual practices which is a real threat to their health." 

A letter alongside the notice warned the site that they had 24 hours to delete all "prohibited" information but didn't specify what is in violation. If the website fails to follow Roskomnadzor's orders, the media regulator will give the site's internet provider 24 hours to block the site. But if the service provider fails, Roskomnadzor will ban Gay.ru itself. 

A spokesperson for the website said: "We've been with you for 20 years, since September 1997 [...] Our website is intended for persons over 18 years of age, whereof it contains an appropriate label." 

Russia's gay propaganda law bans any event or act regarded by the Russian authorities as an attempt to promote homosexuality to minors as illegal and punishable by a fine.

The legislation, ruled as a violation of human rights by the European Court, was made law in 2013 and has been used to stop gay pride marches and to detain gay rights activists.