MOSCOW (AP) — Russian lawmakers have passed legislation that imposes restrictions on online media and criminalizes anyone who insults the state.

The bill introduces fines for publishing materials showing disrespect to the state, its symbols and government organs. Multiple offenders could face a 15-day jail sentence.

The Kremlin-controlled lower house passed the bill Thursday in the final reading. It also endorsed a separate bill that will block anyone publishing "fake news" online, that is perceived to threaten public health and security.

The bills are expected to quickly pass in the upper house before President Vladimir Putin signs them into laws.

Critics see the legislation as part of Kremlin efforts to stifle criticism and tighten control.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.

PLEASE BE ADVISED: Soon we will no longer integrate with Facebook for story comments. The commenting option is not going away, however, readers will need to register for a FREE site account to continue sharing their thoughts and feedback on stories. If you already have an account (i.e. current subscribers, posting in obituary guestbooks, for submitting community events), you may use that login, otherwise, you will be prompted to create a new account.

Load comments