The State Duma adopted a new law on punishment of criticizing the authorities on the Internet. Human rights defenders explained how this affects residents of Crimea

11 March 2019, 11:37

March 7, the Russian State Duma adopted in the third reading a law that introduces a punishment for publications on the Internet, which contain obvious disrespect for the authorities.

According to Medusa report, 327 MPs supported the bill, 40 voted against, one abstained.

The Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media Roskomnadzor will require site owners to remove such information within 24 hours, otherwise their resources will be blocked.

In turn, the Crimean Human Rights Group noted that the wording of the new Russian legislation is so vague that it provides the security and control structures with a wide margin for corruption, pressure on the media and selective application of such norms.

Also, these introduction, according to experts, will allow more mass persecution and restriction of civil society activists, journalists and bloggers in the Crimea who openly criticize the occupation regime and are not afraid to express their position in social networks and the media.

For example, as of now Roskomnadzor has included 13 publications on the Crimean Human Rights Group website in the register of information prohibited in the Russian Federation for allegedly undermining the foundations of the constitutional order. Although these are articles about violations of international humanitarian law by Russia in Crimea. If the new law comes into force, then a resident of the Crimea may be fined from 30,000 to 100,000 rubles for the dissemination of such materials, human rights activists say.

Experts drew attention to the fact that in the second reading, a clarification was removed from the text of the draft law that the dissemination of information intended for an unlimited number of people is punishable.

Therefore, the adoption of the law without this clarification will allow the prosecution of the Crimea residents even for making publications in closed groups.

In December 2018, Roskomnadzor announced its intention to launch a new technology for blocking the Telegram application in the Russian Federation. According to the idea of the department, the Internet provider will have a set of programs installed that will analyze the traffic and single out specific packages of particular sites or applications.