Putin Signs Law Enabling Russia To Detain Citizens Who Spread Fake News
The country watchdog group will also have the power to block access if outlets
Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a new law which will allow Moscow to detain and possibly imprison citizens for spreading misinformation on about government officials on the internet.
Media outlets who are found guilty of spreading “unreliable socially significant information” could face $23,000 fines, according to Bloomberg.
Russia’s communications Watchdog is allowing prosecutors to put forward their complaints about online individuals for spreading fake news on the internet.
The country watchdog group will also have the power to block access if outlets fail to remove their content.
Perpetrators can be jailed for more than two weeks if they distribute material that contains “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 Moscow Times reports,
"Online news outlets and users that spread 'fake news' will face fines of up to 1.5 million rubles ($22,900) for repeat offenses. Insulting state symbols and the authorities, including Putin, will carry a fine of up to 300,000 rubles and 15 days in jail for repeat offenses.
As is the case with other Russian laws, the fines are calculated based on whether the offender is a citizen, an official or a legal entity. More than 100 journalists and public figures, including human rights activist Zoya Svetova and popular writer Lyudmila Ulitskaya, signed a petition opposing the laws, which they labeled 'direct censorship.' "
According to the Daily Caller: The declaration comes after a draft law called the Digital Economy National Program — which requires Russian internet service providers (ISPs) to make technical changes as the nation prepares for sanctions — was introduced to Russian parliament in 2018.
The outage will take place before April 1, although an official date has yet to be released.
Putin has worked with American companies in the past on efforts to censor content.
Russian state media oversight agency Roskomnadzor struck an agreement in February with Google allowing the agency to send the Silicon Valley company a regularly updated list of banned websites; after examining sites on the list, Google will decide which links are to be deleted.
Moscow has come under fire during the past two years after a Russian internet group used various trolling techniques to inject itself into the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
Agents allegedly used memes and misinformation to impact that year’s presidential election.
In March 2018, the Malaysian government proposed legislation that would send citizens a prison term of 10 years for publishing fake news stories according to the Associated Press.
The proposed legislation has raised fears that it would violate journalistic freedom and press amongst journalists and bloggers.
If the bill is approved by parliament, “those who create, offer, circulate, print or publish fake news or publications containing fake news” could spend ten years in jail and face a fine up to $1280,000.