US LGBT bloggers forced to agree to abide by Russian anti-gay laws

LGBT bloggers who use the LiveJournal platform are being forced to agree to abide by Russia’s laws.

LiveJournal was once one of the internet’s main blogging platforms, and was home to a large LGBT blogging community in the early 2000s.

The service was acquired by Russian media company SUP Media in 2007, but its servers remained in the United States until this year.

However, the company has now fully transferred its operations to Russia. As part of the switch, all LiveJournal users were forced to sign a user agreement that requires them to agree to abide by Russian laws.

This states: “The User may not perform any other actions contradictory to the laws of the Russian Federation and/or any other applicable laws, including those applicable in the jurisdiction of User’s residence.”

It also requires users to “mark Content estimated by Russian legislation as inappropriate for children (0 −18) as ‘adult material’ by using Service functions”.

This has been interpreted by a number of bloggers as requiring them to abide by Russia’s 2014 ‘gay propaganda’ law, which outlaws “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” among minors.

The law also bans people sharing “distorted ideas about the equal social value of traditional and non-traditional sexual relationships”.

PinkNews attempted to reach out to LiveJournal for comment, but their press office website appears to have been taken offline.

The Russian state has exploited its ‘gay propaganda’ powers to censor LGBT content online in the past, as well as in the media.

Russian MPs recently called for football video game FIFA 17 to be banned because it allowed players to take part in the rainbow laces campaign.

A special Pride-themed football kit was made available as a free download for FIFA 17 players across PC, Xbox and Playstation gaming platforms as part of the tie-up.

Russian censorship body Roskomnadzor was urged to open a probe into the potential violation of the ‘gay propaganda’ law.

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