Are You A Journalist Blogger? Ban Me Why Don’t You?

Duck

If you live in Russia and get over 3,000 daily viewers, you might be classified as one. You don’t even need to be reporting the news, just have a popular blog and make note of a controversial subject of any kind I was told. If you meet this criteria and live in Russia, you have to register with the mass media regulator and turn over your personal data to the government. Stuff you learn abroad…

GooseJust returning from the former Iron Curtain countries and learning a whole lot about life under Communist rule, I found out having a well read blog is not such a perk.

Get your ducks in a row because bloggers will be held liable for misinformation and opinion too, even if written by people commenting on a blog post. If I say anything derogatory about the Kremlin for instance, they can ban my blog from being read in that country as is my understanding. No being loose as a goose!

Duck-2

Do you know they have Mallards in Eastern Europe? Some were on the Danube.

Do you know where your readers originate? I have an app that tells me, and oddly, I have not had visits from Russia for quite a while and previously had quite a few. It never dawned on me that my blog may have been cited for exclusion.

Ducks-Goose

Funny to have to travel the world to find out things happening there. Funny too as it has been part of Russian news from earlier this year and the law went into effect mid-year. I just missed this tidbit of blogging news. I also missed not having Russian viewers until I looked recently. But also, I found this news not to be especially surprising considering the news coming from the Ukraine. I would guess the blogs in that region are smoking with daily reports, objections and disapproval. Like I mentioned on the post Back Home From Eastern Europe, people in those countries are divided on what they think of Russia.

Ducks With Attitude

In brief, the restrictions include verifying information before publishing, abstaining from slander, extremist views or leading advice on suicide or hate speech. The law bans popular bloggers from using naughty language, inciting or giving heavy criticism and bullying from the online viewers. To combat the loss of free speech… fly somewhere else….just kidding…

Ducks-Flying

Some well-known blogs and blogging platforms are now limiting showing subscribers to less than 2,500 for this reason. Since my blog has more than that and I have had days of over 3,000 views, maybe it is time to shut down the visible stats. I reset overall stats on occasion so the total number never shows, but never thought the number of subscribers could be a hindrance.

I guess in a way, Russia is on to something because bloggers tend to be a gossipy group taking aim at public figures and hitting well below the belt. Frequently, people anonymously say what is on their mind, knowing they face little or no consequence. In fact, the more controversial, the more readers.

And some do much more than just attract readers, they get them to follow a line of thinking and that has a tendency to attract negative attention – like hate speech for instance.

I have often thought there are snippy bloggers out there, some with opinions that should be kept to themselves, others that speak on things they know nothing about and some having commentary on things that should remain unspoken. Some, the honesty and forthright integrity are refreshing in blogging genres that overtly pour on the fake niceties though. There are all kinds of bloggers.

Recently, with the state of world affairs, curbing internet anarchy may not be such a bad thing. Look at headline news on ISIS and Boko Haram and their ability to promote their horrific acts? Internet “taming” is not such a new thing with governments like those in China, Iran, Pakistan, Turkey, and this year, Russia having stricter control of censorship. Ironically, in the wake of revelations about NSA and GCHQ spying, it is a little hypocritical of our country to spank Russia’s behind on this move. What’s good for the goose, so the saying goes.

The personal records of bloggers (and their publications) and the servers that hold them should be kept within Russia’s borders according to their wishes. But, the law does not make certain whether platforms that primarily operate outside of Russia, Google or Facebook for instance, will have to store data in Russia if they want to continue publishing there.

Can you just see Russian tanks lining up on the virtual front to keep bloggers in line? With all the nasty postings on the web, we are still lucky in this country to still have the freedom to write what we desire. We have the First Amendment to thank… infringing on the freedom of the press. Precisely what successful bloggers in Russia are considered – the press.

Duck-Saying

Are you racking up these numbers or stating poignant opinion where your blog could be banned? Just post pretty pictures (I added ducks because who finds ducks controversial – barring those few geese that annoy people) – and talk like an expert on common things everyone can easily Google, and your blogging future will be golden. Just keep the quacking to a minimum.

A photography post on Nature and Wildlife Pics. While playing “photography teacher” on my trip, I ran into a problem I could not resolve. Cropping an Image – Why? Because I Like It That Way. Also, The Land of Few Birds.

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About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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36 Responses to Are You A Journalist Blogger? Ban Me Why Don’t You?

  1. Well I wouldn’t qualify as a journalist in Russia as I’ve never had more than 700 views in a day and usually have much less than that. Disappointing that the fall of Communism there has not brought about greater freedom of expression. My son, who speaks fluent Russian, tells me the government actually promotes hate speech of various kinds, so the prohibition of hate speech on blogs is ironic. I actually think it depends on who you are being hateful about.

    • I have read and saw a movie on HBO about hate speech in Russia concerning gays. I was rather alarmed seeing what life was life for gays in that country. You must be right in that it is all in what someone hates as to whether it is tolerated.

  2. I guess we take so many of our freedoms for granted, and can’t even imagine how it would be if we were to lose them. Interesting feedback from your visit to Eastern Europe. I liked your comment about lining up the Russian tanks on the virtual front.

    • I think most young people in the areas I visited agree. Once having freedoms then losing them would not be acceptable. It is mostly the young using the internet there due to cost and accessibility. Cafes are a great place for free WiFi for many. I don’t know the percentages of users there or here, but I would guess it far lower than in our country – only because of economic station.

  3. Cute post and full of info I didn’t know. That answers the question maybe of why I use to have Russian viewers and now I haven’t in a few months. Thanks, Donna.

  4. alesiablogs says:

    You sure learned a lot on your vacation!

  5. I’m glad I live (and blog) in the U.S. With that said, any Internet activity is actually pretty global. In some ways, that’s an incredible blessing. In other ways, it makes us so vulnerable. I guess we have to accept the risks with the rewards in so many areas of life. A very thought-provoking post.

    • There is good and bad in all things, and I think we are seeing the worst of the net lately. As these horrible things surface, it still does not stop people’s curiosity to view them. The same with vulnerability. The challenge to get where others cannot is a great motivator for many.

  6. bittster says:

    I’m living in a completely different world, and grateful for it!

    • So true. On one hand people in the countries I visited, people were just like you and me, but when you heard the stories, you realized that we have never experienced the things that they have in their lives, especially the older folks. Some of our group was in Russia before joining us. I think I missed a great part of that trip, irregardless of the politics.

  7. We are truly blessed to be in the land of the free! P. x

    • Living here all my life, I could not even imagine it any other way. It makes me think what will happen in countries that decide to join Russia once again. Since there is great disagreement amongst peoples there as to becoming under their protection or remaining free, it would seem revolutions will be brewing once again. I think that is what got my attention most, that some still after having a democracy, would choose to be under oppressive rule once again. Maybe it is the state of the world and feeling protected – or as most said – it is not having jobs. Some US folks asked these hard and personal questions. I did not because I feared being judged for “American arrogance”. The feeling never left me, for as nice and friendly as the people were to us, that they still judged us and frowned on our actions and words. The other reason I talked little was how easily it is to misinterpret. They were telling us just change a vowel and it means something entirely different.

  8. While I don’t like anonymous commenters who label people, call people names and spew nonsense, I don’t want the government trying to control public discourse. I guess you should be proud that you have reached the level that your blog could be banned in Russia.

    • I never even thought about reaching a level in blogging. I always thought my blog was accessible worldwide, and after looking at countries visiting over the years, I did notice a decline in some. Whether we realize it or not, it probably happens here as well. Videos are pulled everyday. I also bet some websites are not available to us.

  9. debsgarden says:

    The problem with limiting freedom of speech is that the government gets to define the terms. For example “hate speech” simply becomes anything the government determines it to be. We take our freedoms here for granted. They are priceless, and we need to be careful about the slippery slope to government control.

    By the way, congratulations on qualifying as a journalist blogger in Russia. Your photos are wonderful, and i think they would (probably) be welcomed in Russia!

    • That is the issue in Russia, that the government makes the rules. But according to what I was told, the rules are not very well defined. Therein lies the problem – interpretation. I am not sure I would be a journalist blogger in that country. My blog would need to consistently reach at least 3000 views a day I think and that happened this year in May to June – coincidentally when the law in Russia was passed. After that it went down. I occasionally talk about things that might get me banned, but usually it is to make a bigger point on a post. Not sure if you need to spew controversy or politics daily or not. No one could explain the “rules”.

  10. My Heartsong says:

    Very interesting information, never would have known if you hadn’t shared this.

  11. Victor Ho says:

    From where I am, the government censors monitor all websites. The work around is to subscribe to a proxy server. This allows you to completely bypass the government servers. It was a simple trick taught to me by a couple of primary school kids. So even the youngest know how to get around. I imagine it is not too hard to get information in and out. It is more a matter of not getting on someone’s no fly list by being noticed.

    • I am subscribed to a proxy server. I used it when on my travels. It is great to change IP addresses and be “anonymous” but I doubt that would prevent a government from tracing it back. I used it at one internet cafe and in the hotels. On the boat we were on an iPhone hotspot. What my main reason for using it in the hotels was to watch American TV where you needed a US IP address to watch. HBO GO is an example. I happily logged into my HBO account and watched movies and weekly shows.

  12. Kevin says:

    Fascinating read! You have me curious about where my readers come from. I know WordPress supplies that information with a very colorful global image, but I’m wondering about the app you use.

  13. Duckies ! Great captures. Hadn’t noticed the Russians, guess I’ll go and look.

  14. A.M.B. says:

    Yikes! I have a good amount of traffic, depending on the post, but not enough to qualify for that particular exclusion!

    • I thought you would comment on the loss of freedom of speech. I am really surprised at how getting certain freedoms in a country that had none that some people would not be as concerned on losing them again. I do bet some are glad to muffle certain bloggers though. The fines are steep and most could not afford to keep getting them.

  15. Denise says:

    3000 daily viewers? Must be those captivating headlines 🙂

  16. Annette says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience, Donna. It makes me all the more grateful for living in a free country. Fab bird shots – glad to have you back 🙂

  17. If you weren’t banned I bet you are now! I never get that many views so I am safe and I have a few Russian readers. I am not surprised at this type of regulation, but I don’t think people realize how good we have it here.

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