This week Russia’s media regulator and telecom oversight agency, known as Roskomnadzor, reminded Russian citizens that it’s illegal to post memes of real people that depict them in any way that does not reflect their “personality,” the Washington Post reported. The announcement, made on Russian social media site VKontakte, clarified an existing law governing how a person’s image may be distributed.
“These ways of using [celebrities’ images] violate the laws governing personal data and harm the honor, dignity and business of public figures,” Roskomnadzor wrote, according to a translation from the Post. Parody accounts and parody websites impersonating a person are also illegal.
Roskomnadzor has only been an entity in Russian public policy for three years and it has already defined itself as a repressive and controlling speech censor. In 2012, it was ordered to create a blacklist of websites detrimental to Russian interests and ended up blocking over 180 sites. In mid-2014, Russia passed a law that said bloggers with 3,000 daily readers or more must register with Roskomnadzor. The same law also required that social media data be stored within Russia’s boundaries so the government can access it at any time.
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