MOSCOW, January 29 - RAPSI. Nearly 600 Russian websites have been closed down after a federal regulator concluded that they contain information on various ways to commit suicide, Gennady Onishchenko, head of the Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Protection and Welfare, said on Tuesday.

"We have received 703 applications from the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media," he said. "We have looked into them all and 594 decisions have been taken on closing the websites in question, while in 101 cases we decided that there was no prohibited information featured. We are still dealing with the information on the other 187 websites," the official said at a news conference.

Onishchenko added that social networking sites are the main providers of information about suicides.

The law On Protecting Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development, which came into force on September 1, 2012, stipulated that an automated register of domain names should be established for identifying websites which contain prohibited information, in particular, child pornography, ways of committing suicide and instructions on how to make drugs. If this kind of information is found, the website may be closed without the courts' involvement.

If a website contains other kinds of prohibited information, the decision to close it can only be taken by a court. The consumer rights regulator is responsible for putting websites on the register which contain information promoting suicide and detailing different ways to end your life.