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Media: Russia issued $566,000 in fines in 2023 to TV providers for showing LGBT content

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk January 23, 2024 1:40 PM 2 min read
Demonstrators wave flags, including the pride flag and Ukraine flag, at the Warsaw Equality Parade on June 25, 2022 in Warsaw, Poland. The parade hosted Kyiv Pride and drew attention to LGBTQ+ rights and Russia's invasion of Ukraine. (Volha Shukaila/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images) 
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Russia's internet services regulator Roskomnadzor issued 50 million rubles ($566,000) in fines to television providers and streaming services for violating government restrictions on showing LGBT content, the Russian state-controlled media RBC reported on Jan. 23, citing data from Roskomnadzor.

Russia passed a law in late December 2022 banning "LGBT propaganda," which included neutral or even non-negative depictions of LGBT relationships. Russia's Supreme Court further tightened the crackdown on LGBT rights in November 2023, officially declaring the "international LGBT movement" an "extremist organization" and prohibiting its activities.

It is not clear what precisely the court meant by the "international LGBT movement" and if the ban applies to any specific organizations or the entire LGBT community, including those who are not affiliated with any organized group.

RBC wrote that Roskomnadzor issued almost 100 fines for violating the rule on depictions of LGBT relationships in 2023, which are especially regulated in cases where LGBT content is shown to minors.

The vast majority of fines related to television providers releasing content, including shows, movies, or music videos, that depicted LGBT material but did not include a +18 content warning.

Sources told RBC that Roskomnadzor's rules are unclear and inconsistently applied. A fine was issued in one case because a music video depicted two women hugging, implying they were a couple.  

Many of the violations related to content released before the stricter rules were instituted.

A representative of a Russian television provider told RBC that the company does not have the bandwidth to analyze all previously released content and determine if it falls within Roskomnadzor's standards.

Russia’s Supreme Court declares ‘LGBT movement’ an ‘extremist organization’
It is not clear what precisely the court means by the “international LGBT movement” and if the newly announced ban applies to any specific organizations or the entire LGBT community, including those who are not affiliated with any group.

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