Russia Putin on the censorship thumbscrews -

The Russian government is using internet censorship laws which it told citizens were designed to protect children to crack down on sites which criticise the government.

Last summer, Russia passed an internet blacklist bill which required ISPs to censor certain sites. At the time Russian officials swore on their babooshka's grave that the blacklist would be used to "protect the children" from "harmful information." On the list included child porn, suicide instructions, and pro-drug propaganda.

However, according to Techdirt, within weeks, a popular blogging site, LiveJournal, was censored, followed by the Russian equivalent of Wikipedia.

Confident that no one really gives a monkey's about censorship, the Russian government is now targeting journalists it doesn't like.

Added to the blacklist has been a site used by prominent free speech and civil liberties reporters in Russia who have been critical of the government.

The government claims they put the sites on the blacklist due to "child pornography elements," but Access points out that rather than just removing such content, they've blocked access to the entire site.

In doing so they have silenced two prominent journalists: Andrei Malgin, a journalist who has been very critical of the government and Vladimir Pribylovsky, who dared to publish a large database of government misdeeds and for disclosed official documents that expose corruption.

What is interesting is that western countries such as the UK, Iceland, Australia and New Zealand are looking at bringing in such filters too. In all these cases the claim is that they need to be bought in to protect children from internet porn, terrorists and witches, er, paedophiles.

Once the tools for censorship are in place, it seems that if these politicians follow the same pattern as their Russian chums they can censor whatever website they like.