Online media outlets can only be shut down for extremist comments left on their forums if they fail to comply with official requests to delete the comments, the Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, RIA-Novosti reported. User posts on forums without moderation are to be treated the same way as live speeches on radio or television, for which the broadcasters cannot be held responsible, said Supreme Court deputy chief justice Vasily Nechayev. The ruling only covers forums of web sites that are registered as media outlets. Federal anti-extremist legislation allows courts to close media outlets that receive two warnings for extremist content, which includes promoting hatred based on ethnicity, social status and profession, as well as calling for the violent overthrow of the government. Promoting extremism is punishable by up to three years in prison and up to five years if done through the mass media. Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling, authorities had the option of shutting down online media outlets for comments on their forums, even if the comments were not endorsed by the editors.