Russian Parliament approves draft law introducing punishment for disseminating fake news

Thursday, January 24, Russian State Duma approved four draft laws  in the first reading. Among them were the laws on disseminating fake news, on criminal responsibility for insulting the government and on administrative penalties in both cases.

The draft law regarding dissemination of "false public information" on the internet relates to information that can "be a cause for serious bodily injury and lead to other serious consequences," stated the Deputy from the United Russia party, Dmitry Vyatkin.

For publishing “fake news,” the government can levy a fine of 3,000 to 5,000 rubles ($45 to $76 dollars) against individuals, 30,000 to 50,000 rubles ($456 to $760 dollars) against officials and 400,000 to 1 million rubles ($6,000 to $15,000 dollars) against legal entities.

For violations of the law on “disrespect to the state,” the General Prosecutor's Office can appeal to the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media or Roskomnadzor. It can demand that communications service providers limit access to information resources. The punishment includes an administrative fine of 1,000 to 5,000 rubles (15 to 76 dollars) or administrative detention for up to 15 days.

The law assumes that the police will determine the protocols for such offenses, and not just Roskomnadzor, which is responsible for the information policy.

Apart from the regulation on fake news, the series of draft laws on internet regulation submitted to the State Duma in December 2018 also includes the draft law on "sovereign internet" that relates to technical separation of the Russian network segment from the rest of the Internet.

  State Duma, Russia, Russian internet, Roskomnadzor