‘LGBT propaganda’ aimed at children has hit ‘colossal proportions,’ Russian internet watchdog claims

Follow RT on Urgent action needs to be taken to prevent young people from being exposed to LGBT+ content online, a leading Russian internet group has claimed, saying targeted sites should be blocked without having to wait for a court order.

Speaking to Moscow’s TASS on Monday, Yekaterina Mizulina, the director of the Safe Internet League and a member of the country’s Civic Chamber, warned that the online space is becoming increasingly politicized. “LGBT propaganda aimed at children on social networks has hit colossal proportions,” she argued.

According to her, “the next step in combatting gay propaganda among children, in the view of the Safe Internet League, is to introduce the pre-trial blocking of materials that promote non-traditional family values among minors.”

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In a statement, the online safety group told parents that platforms like TikTok, Instagram and YouTube, as well as Russian networking site VKontakte, “are filled with gay propaganda aimed at minors: cartoons, comics, anime, videos shot by famous bloggers.”

Moscow adopted a law in 2013 that banned the “promotion of non-traditional relationships” among young people, in a move lawmakers said would protect them. However, detractors, including a large number of Western lobby groups, have insisted it constitutes an attack on LGBT+ rights, with the Council of Europe demanding the measures be revoked. The European Court of Human Rights has also ruled that Moscow must recognize gay marriages after an appeal from same-sex couples, with the Kremlin insisting that would be against the terms of the country’s constitution.

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Defending the measures, President Vladimir Putin has argued that the law targets only “gay propaganda,” and had “nothing to do with persecuting individuals for their sexual orientation.” Speaking to journalists after the bill was passed, the Russian leader said, “I don’t care about a person’s orientation, and I myself know some people who are gay. We are on friendly terms. I’m not prejudiced in any way.”

In July, popular grocery story chain VkusVill was forced to apologize after featuring a lesbian couple and their children in an advert for vegan food. In a statement, the firm blamed the marketing materials on “the unprofessionalism of individual employees” and said it regretted the public outcry over the ad.

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