Google in Russia blocking gay news websites

Gay rights activist in Russia complains to Google about a popular news and information portal is blocked from the search engine

Google in Russia blocking gay news websites
19 August 2013

LGBT Russians have complained to Google after they were unable to access a popular gay news website.

Gay.Ru, a news and interviews portal, was blocked from the Google homepage.

Usually if a Russian was to type in ‘gay’ into the main search engine, they would discover the website.

But now after the ‘gay propaganda’ laws have become enforced, it has disappeared from the search engine.

When Gay.ru staff realized Bing, Yahoo, and even Russian search engine Yandex put ‘Gay.ru’ at the top of their ‘gay’ search lists, they believed Google had excluded their website on purpose.

Ed Mishin, the owner of Gay.ru, contacted the Russian division of Google to make a complaint.

Speaking to Gay Star News, he said: ‘They’re not willing to talk much by email, the only email I had from Google was a complaint about “content.”

‘Gay.ru is very neutral, we don’t have any sexual content. When we asked them what kind of content they meant, we didn’t really receive any other response.’

Mishin claims Google’s Russia office told them they were not going to be as ‘tolerant’ and ‘follow everything world Google does’.

The ‘gay propaganda’ law bans the promotion of homosexuality to children under the 18.

When the law was signed by President Vladimir Putin, Mishin added a special mark to the website stating it was for adults.

He said: ‘We are very vulnerable because of this. When some deputy decides this is propaganda. In the law, it says you cannot show a homosexual way of life in a positive way.

‘Definitely, our website is full of stories of positive living as a homosexual and that is why we’re against the law.’

Mishin added he expected his website would be shut down eventually, a final insult to his freedom of speech.

‘The law was only about the propaganda. When [the deputies] decide it is not enough, even positive descriptions of homosexual life is not allowed.

‘In this case we’re waiting for them to shut down everything. And now they can do this without going to court, they have another law that allows them to shut down the website just because they want to.’

‘I’m quite sure the LGBT community will act somehow,’ Mishin told GSN, when asked what LGBT Russians could do to protect the site.

‘This news about Google is the first step to tell the community that maybe tomorrow will be too late.’

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