RUSSIA: 10 to 15 years in prison for “fake news” by journalists about the army
Novaya Gazeta (04.03.2022) – https://bit.ly/3pyjHSk – The State Duma adopted amendments on imprisonment for up to 15 years for “fakes about the Russian army” in the second and third readings. This is reported by Interfax.
“The bill will be immediately sent to the Federation Council,” said Vyacheslav Volodin, speaker of the lower house of the Russian parliament. According to him, the provisions of the document may come into force tomorrow. The State Duma voted unanimously for the adoption of amendments to the Criminal Code – 401 votes in favor.
By the decision of the State Duma, Article 207.3 is introduced into the Criminal Code – “on the public dissemination of knowingly false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation in order to protect the interests of Russia and its citizens.” According to the new article of the Criminal Code, up to 10 years in prison can be obtained for the distribution of “fakes”. If this was followed by serious consequences – up to 15 years.
In addition, the State Duma approved the introduction of Article 280.3 on “discrediting the Russian Armed Forces.” The minimum penalty for such an offense will be a fine of 100 to 300 thousand rubles, the maximum – 5 years of imprisonment.
The Criminal Code was also supplemented with Article 284.2 on “calls for sanctions against Russia.” It can be used to receive up to three years in prison.
Earlier, the head of the Duma Security Committee Vasily Piskarev proposed to introduce criminal and administrative liability for “distortion of the purpose, role and objectives of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation, as well as other formations during special military and other operations.”
On March 3, the Board of Directors of Echo of Moscow decided to liquidate the radio channel and the Echo of Moscow website. Before that, the Prosecutor General’s Office had disconnected “Echo of Moscow” from the air. According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the radio station allegedly distributed materials calling for extremist activity and false information about the actions of the Russian military as part of the “special military operation” in Ukraine.
Along with Echo, the Prosecutor General’s Office blocked the website of the Rain TV channel*. Earlier, Roskomnadzor demanded to remove the materials of Novaya Gazeta, Mediazona*, Rain and other media for being called war in Ukraine.
*Introduced by the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation in the register of media performing the functions of a foreign agent
According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, the websites of the publications contained materials calling for extremist activity and false information about the actions of the Russian military as part of the “special military operation”** in Ukraine.
Sites are already blocked and do not open through Rostelecom, MegaFon, Tele-2, Beeline, MTS, Yota and 2COM. The echo of Moscow is disconnected from the air. The editor-in-chief of “Echo of Moscow” Alexey Venediktov said that the editorial office categorically disagrees with the submission of the Prosecutor General’s Office, which led to the disconnection of the radio station from the air and blocking of the site. He noted that the claims of the Prosecutor General’s Office “are not supported by any examples, no evidence, unfounded and offensive to journalists and citizens of Russia.” Venediktov also said that the editorial board would challenge the blocking in court.
Roskomnadzor demanded the removal of materials from Novaya Gazeta, Mediazona*, Rain* and other media for being called war in Ukraine. “These resources under the guise of reliable messages contain unreliable socially significant untrue information about the shelling of Ukrainian cities by the Russian Armed Forces and the death of civilians of Ukraine as a result of the actions of the Russian Army, as well as materials in which the operation is called an attack, invasion or declaration of war,” the regulator’s request said.
*Introduced by the Ministry of Justice in the register of “foreign agents” media
**Roskomnadzor insists that what is happening on the territory of Ukraine is a “special military operation” and forces the media to remove materials in which the conflict is called “war”
The Union of Journalists of Karelia appealed to the Prosecutor General’s Office with a complaint against the actions of Roskomnadzor
The Union of Journalists of Karelia asked the Prosecutor General’s Office to check the legality of the actions of Roskomnadzor, which banned the use of the word “war” and the use of unofficial sources in the context of news about Ukraine. This is reported on the official website of the organization.
The authors of the statement (available to the editorial office of Novaya), draw attention to the fact that the possibility of using only official sources contradicts the principles of journalism and is censorship prohibited by the Constitution of Russia. Also, the actual ban on the use of the word “war” when covering clashes in the document is called “unjustified, meaningless and illegal”.
“The Union of Journalists asks for a legal assessment of the actions of Roskmonadzor, which lead to pressure on the media, introduce censorship and prevent an objective description of military operations on the territory of Ukraine,” the statement reads.
Recall that on February 24, the RKN issued a press release in which it obliged the media to “use information and data obtained only from official Russian sources” when covering the “special operation” in Ukraine. Later, the supervisory authority saw a violation of the law in the fact that the “special operation” in the materials of a number of publications was called war, which led to their blocking.
On February 24, 2022, the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) issued a press release in which it stated the following: “Roskomnadzor informs the media, information resources that when preparing its materials and publications related to a special operation in connection with the situation in the Lugansk People’s Republic and the Donetsk People’s Republic, they are obliged to use information and data obtained by them only from official Russian sources” (https://rkn.gov.ru/news/rsoc/news74084.htm).
Photo credits: duma.gov.ru