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.