Russia joins battle against 'Fake News,' will ban indecent state criticism


While other countries are trying to combat fake news by implementing laws, Russia, which had introduced several internet law previously, also decided to join the new battle and said that the authority will punish those media outlets, which will publishing fake stories, as well as the contents that show "disrespect" to government bodies and officials.

While publications found guilty of spreading "unreliable socially-significant information" would face fines up to $US15,000 under a measure passed Thursday by the lower house of parliament at first reading, prosecutors will have a power block those websites without court orders.

The country has introduced to a second law that clearly said that members of the public can go behind the bars for maximum 15 years and can face a ban on their publications, if they were found distributing materials "expressing in indecent form a clear disrespect for society, the state, the official state symbols of the Russian Federation, the Constitution of the Russian Federation and bodies exercising state power."

The state-run Tass news service reported that Garry Minkh, President Vladimir Putin's representative to parliament said that the Kremlin has supported the draft law, but it may get refined in later readings.

He also added, "There's no censorship here or contradiction of the constitution because rights and freedoms can be restricted for constitutionally significant purposes."

The Kremlin's human rights council said on its website that the new proposals, which face two more reading, should be radically revised to eliminate a high level of legal doubts that may lead to arbitrary enforcement.

The measures emerged after Putin's popularity dropped to a seven-year low among the citizen of the country in September 2018 due to a law increasing pension ages.

However, Russia has introduced several restrictions on news media outlets, particularly the internet, which is favoured by anti-Putin citizens, to appear on state television.

On the other hand, an opposition politician, Ilya Yashin called these new laws "crazy bills" and said that "How can they prohibit people from criticising the authorities?"

Leonid Parfenov, a prominent Russian journalist and filmmaker, said, "The authorities are in principle against any criticism of them," he said. "Their self-esteem is so high that they need to back it up with a law."

This article was first published on January 28, 2019
Related topics : Fake news