Google has been slapped with a 3 million rubles (around NZ$57,500) fine by a Russian court after the company was accused of promoting “LGBT propaganda” and disseminating “false information” about Russia’s military operations in Ukraine.
According to reports by Russian news agencies, the fine represents the latest in a series of penalties imposed by Moscow on Western tech giants over the past year, as the nation tightens its control over the online content available to its internet users, issuing a slew of fines against these companies.
Google’s fine follows recent moves by Putin’s government to pass stringent censorship laws shortly after deploying troops to Ukraine, along with new fortifications to its laws against what it labels as the “promotion of LGBT propaganda” last year.
The newly enacted law, which expands Russia’s definition of “LGBT propaganda”, has drawn severe criticism from independent human rights organisations and stipulates that any act or dissemination of information perceived as an attempt to publicise homosexuality, whether in public, online or through films, books, or advertising, could lead to a significant fine.
Russian prosecutors have accused Google of refusing to take down several YouTube videos, including one from a blogger that Moscow designated a “foreign agent”. This particular video discusses how same-sex couples raise children and addresses the LGBTQ+ community in St. Petersburg, as reported by the TASS news agency.
The Russian branch of Google (owned by parent company Alphabet) declared bankruptcy last year after Russian authorities seized its bank accounts. This action followed a December 2021 fine of 7.2 billion roubles (approximately NZ$1.4 billion) for what was described by Russian authorities as the company’s “repeated failure” to delete specific content.
Last Updated on May 18, 2023
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