Kathy Lally

The Russian parliament passed a hastily introduced law Wednesday that allows the government to impose limits on the Internet, prompting fears it could prove a first step toward censorship of a previously unbridled forum.

The law, presented as a way to protect children by eliminating Web sites devoted to child pornography, pedophilia, illegal drug use and suicide, won broad support in the Duma, the lower house, where 441 of 450 members voted for it.

Many armed conflicts around the world have fallen off the radar, are neglected by governments and overlooked by the media.

Bloggers, media groups and human rights defenders opposed it, worried that it was not well-thought-out — it was introduced only last week — and could be loosely interpreted by the courts, which are seen as serving the interests of the authorities rather than observing the legal code.

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