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Russia to consider ‘gay propaganda’ complaint against Netflix

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Russia to consider ‘gay propaganda’ complaint against Netflix

The Russian government will investigate a complaint of ‘gay propaganda’ filed by a government official against Netflix within 30 days.

According to the daily Vedomosti, the complaint had been filed by Public Commissioner Olga Baranets with the Russian Interior Ministry.

Gay propaganda in Netflix content

Baranets, who is tasked with protecting families, accused the streaming company of violating a 2013 Russian law that bans the spread of “propaganda on non-traditional sexual relations.”

Baranets told Vedomosti that Netflix’s “collection of films and TV series tells about the lives of gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgender people.”

In particular, Netflix supposedly violated the law by broadcasting LGBTQ-themed content with a 16+ label from Russians under the age of 18.

While Netflix has declined to comment on the matter, they face a fine of up to one million rubles (or US$13,400), or a temporary suspension of its service if they’re found violating the law, Vedomosti reported.

The newspaper further reported that a source close to Netflix had said the company had checked their content on members of the LGBTQ community and none of them had a 16+ label.

Likewise, a Netflix spokesperson had confirmed to Engadget that their content was appropriately rated, and that the ratings were accurate.

Russian law targeting the LGBTQ community

This Russian law has been cited by the European Court of Human Rights as breaching European treaty rules, violating the right to freedom of expression, and discriminating against LGBTQ people.

In response, Moscow said the ruling was unjust. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s socially conservative base have also expressed popular support for the said law.

Presently, despite homosexuality not being illegal in Russia, Putin’s rule is supported by strong anti-LGBTQ sentiment as reported by surveys.

Likewise, the heterosexual definition of a marriage is enshrined in Russia’s constitution after a nationwide vote on constitutional amendments in 2020.

Russia moves against tech companies

Vedomosti further reported that Russian government officials are considering a ban on streaming services that have content that show “non-traditional sexual relationships and sexual deviations.”

This includes movies and TV shows like “Fifty Shades of Gray” and “Billions.”

What’s more, Russia wants tech companies like Apple, Meta (the parent of FacebooK), Google, Tiktok, Telegram, and Twitter to set up an official presence in the country by year’s end if they haven’t done this yet.

Critics said this is the Russian government’s attempt to exert tighter control over the Internet.

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