Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed laws which prohibit “the dissemination of fake news” and establishes fines for “blatant disrespect for society, the government, official symbols of Russia and state authorities". Both sets of documents were published on the portal of legal information on Monday, March 18.
According to the document, by “unreliable socially significant information”, the law on fake news implies information which is disseminated as “reliable reports” but creates threats to citizens, public order or the functioning of “critical infrastructure facilities, including, transport or public infrastructure”.
By the order of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, individuals and entities disseminating such information are obliged to “immediately” remove any data that has been recognized as “unreliable”, otherwise such media sources could be blocked.
The “traditional media”, i.e. all media outlets that are either licensed or certified by the Russian government, do not fall under the new law. The fines for the violation of the law can reach from 30 thousand ($465 USD) to 1.5 million rubles (23,235 USD).
The law on “offending state symbols” by publishing “blatant disrespectful information” envisages fines and arrests for up to 15 days. The law does not apply to printed resources.
Earlier, the Human Rights Council (HRC) under the president of the Russian Federation called on Putin to reject these laws and send them for revision. After President Putin signed the documents, Mikhail Fedotov, the head of the council, promised in an interview with Echo of Moscow that the HRC would monitor the enforcement of the laws and will formulate corrections if they have the chance to do so.