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Huge fines to make Google abide by Russian laws, media watchdog says

Alexander Zharov noted that Google was still reluctant to filter search results

MOSCOW, December 24. /TASS/. Huge fines will make Google abide by Russian laws and access the unified register of banned information, Head of the Russian media watchdog Alexander Zharov said in an interview with TASS.

"It is too early to say whether it will be just huge fines or fines depending on the company's turnover. I think we should consider various options, taking the opinion of other state agencies into account," he noted. "There is no such bill yet but I hope it will be drafted soon," Zharov said, adding that huge fines would make foreign companies abide by the Russian legislation.

The media watchdog’s head pointed out that under Russian laws, all search engines were obliged to get access to the unified register of banned information and remove links to websites containing banned information from search results. The register includes websites related to child pornography, the propaganda of drugs, suicide, gambling, extremism and certain political content. Zharov also said that all the Russian search engines had joined the register.

Google situation

Zharov noted that Google was still reluctant to filter search results. "We have been monitoring them on a daily basis and they still provide links to websites included in the unified register of banned information," he said. "The company was fined five mln rubles ($7,300) a while ago, but obviously is it a minor amount of money for Google," the Russian media watchdog’s head added.

According to him, the watchdog would soon launch a new administrative case against the company. A watchdog source earlier told TASS that the new fine would amount to 700,000 rubles ($10,200).

In 2017, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service fined Google 438 mln rubles ($6,400) over a violation of anti-monopoly laws.