Russia Could Ban #039;Gay Emojis#039;

lt;pgt;The Russian government may ban #039;gay emojis#039; from all social media platforms, if an investigation proves they violate the country#039;s prohibition on what it calls gay quot;propagandaquot;, Russian newspaper lt;emgt;lt;a href=quot;http://izvestia.ru/news/589293quot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;Izvestialt;/agt;lt;/emgt; has reported.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;The Russian media watchdog, lt;a href=quot;http://rkn.gov.ru/eng/quot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;Roskomnadzorlt;/agt;, has confirmed it has sent a letter to the quot;Young Guardquot; of President Vladimir Putin#039;s United Russia party to request their help in investigating the country#039;s increasing use of same-sex emoji couples holding hands or kissing, such as the ones available on Apple iPhones, to see if their use breaches the country-wide ban on the publishing of materials that contradict traditional government-defined family values.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;Act 11 of Federal Law in Russia amended and re-enacted on June 30, lt;a href=quot;http://mic.com/articles/58649/russia-s-anti-gay-law-spelled-out-in-plain-englishquot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;2013lt;/agt;, to include the banning of quot;propagandaquot; which promotes quot;non-traditional sexual relationships.quot;lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;The original request for an investigation into social media platforms came from Mikhail Marchenko, the far-right Liberal Democratic Party of Russia#039;s senator for the Bryansk region. Marchenko said he believed the use of smileys on social media platforms promoted homosexual symbolism.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;Marchenko said that emojis are part of quot;the spread on social media of un-traditional sexual relations among minors,quot; that quot;denies family valuesquot; and quot;form disrespect to parents and other family membersquot;.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;Kiril Grychenko, spokesman for lt;a href=quot;https://twitter.com/young_guardquot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;The Youth Guardlt;/agt;, told the lt;emgt;Izvestialt;/emgt; newspaper that they have not yet received any letter from Roskomnadzor, but would be willing to look into the country#039;s use of the emojis.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;The Youth Guard is an organisation founded as part of Putin#039;s United Russia party in 2003 to engage young voters. According to its lt;a href=quot;http://mger2020.ru/history-organization/#3quot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;websitelt;/agt;, it is the quot;largest youth organization in the country,quot; which works on government projects and regional projects to engage young voters.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;The group lt;a href=quot;http://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/dec/21/anna-chapman-russiaquot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;appointedlt;/agt; a former Russian sleeper agent as its leader in 2010. Anna Chapman, who was part of a spy ring in the U.S., was praised by Putin and was assigned to work with quot;patriots and young business people,quot; on her return from the U.S. The group has also been lt;a href=quot;http://navalny.livejournal.com/539976.htmlquot; rel=quot;nofollowquot; target=quot;_blankquot;gt;accused of extremismlt;/agt; and intimidating journalists by opposition blogger and activist Alexei Navalny.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;If found to be in violation of the law by Roskomnadzor, emojis will be banned for the quot;protection of children from information harmful to their health and development,quot; under Act 11 of the Russian Federal Law.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;The Russian government has been cracking down on individuals and companies deemed to be publishing information on same-sex relationships or promoting gay rights both online and offline since 2013.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;Fines of 4,000-5,000 rubles ($67-83) can be placed on individuals and between 40,000-50,000 rubles ($670-$830) can be placed on officials deemed to be rejecting quot;traditional Russian values.quot;lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;Foreigners can also be arrested, detained for up to 15 days and then deported, with fines of up to $83. Fines can be further increased if a person, official or business utilizes the media or internet to disseminate gay propaganda.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;Fines of between 400-500,000 ($6,700-8,300) rubles can be placed on businesses and they can be closed down for up to 90 days.lt;/pgt; lt;pgt;On Wednesday, lt;a href=quot;http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jul/29/lgbt-yelena-klimova-fined-russia-gay-propaganda-lawsquot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;Elena Klimovalt;/agt;, the founder of Deti-404, an online community for LGBT teenagers in Russia was fined 50,000 roubles ($830) after a Russian court judged that her lt;a href=quot;http://www.deti-404.com/enquot; rel=quot;nofollowquot;gt;websitelt;/agt; and social media pages were guilty of distributing quot;propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations among minors.quot;lt;/pgt;