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In a significant move, Russian authorities have imposed a fine on a local streaming platform for the first time under the country’s law prohibiting “Gay propaganda.”

According to reports by The federal media regulator Trikolor Kino i TV, based in St. Petersburg, was fined 1.2 million rublesNZD 28,1000 ) by the Magistrate Court during a trial held on Tuesday. Additionally, an unnamed manager from the streaming platform was fined 200,000 rubles (NZD $4,700).

Trikolor Kino i TV, which has more than 12 million subscribers, has reportedly since removed the content deemed tbreachof Russia’s “gay propaganda” law. However, it has not confirmed what the content was.  

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According to RBC, Russia’s media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has filed 19 misdemeanour lawsuits against all major streaming platforms in the country. The primary target of these lawsuits is the 2016 Italian comedy film “Perfect Strangers,” which features a gay character. This film has attracted scrutiny due to its perceived violation of Russia’s “gay propaganda” law. The Russian Culture Ministry, which initially issued a distribution license for the film with a 16+ age rating, is now considering revoking the license due to its portrayal of a gay characterInitiallyly, Russia’s “gay propaganda” ban applied to content aimed at minors.

However, in November, the law was expanded to prohibit the public display of LGBTQ+ relationships and lifestyles to individuals of all agesLaw violationsaw can result in fines of up to 5 million rubles. These changes have had a chilling effect on the Russian arts community, leading to the withdrawal of books, movies, and artworks from public circulation out of fear of fines and potential criminal charges. In April, Moscow’s renowned Bolshoi Theater dropped a ballet about Russian dance legend Rudolf Nureyev to avoid running afoul of the expanded law.

This year, Russian courts have also ordered the deportation of a Chinese blogger and a German national after finding them guilty of violating the “gay propaganda” law. Legal experts cited by RBC have expressed concerns that the law may be further tightened, potentially leading to more severe consequences than just substantial fines.

In recent months, the Kremlin has intensified its promotion of what it deems “traditional family values” following its military actions in Ukraine. These efforts have heightened the cultural and legal challenges faced by the LGBTQ+ community in Russia.

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