#20 - JRL 2009-191 - JRL Home

Russian Public Chamber concerned about possible internet censorship

Moscow, 15 October: The Russian Public Chamber and the human rights community are seriously concerned about some provisions of the bill that regulates the activities of websites and envisages a possibility to ban the activities of internet resources.

"The submitted bill contains danger of the fight against dissidence under the guise of protection of state interests," Pavel Gusev, head of the (Public Chamber) commission for (mass) communications, information policy and freedom of speech in mass media and editor-in-chief of the newspaper Moskovskiy Komsomolets, has said.

Addressing today a joint session of the commission headed by Gusev and the commission for the control over the activities of law-enforcement agencies led by lawyer Anatoliy Kucherena, in which experts and human rights activists took part, Gusev primarily pointed out the clauses of the bill that give state officials a right to suspend the activities of websites.

"This is the main danger when under the guise of the fight against extremism officials can ban websites. This is inadmissible. Decisions like these should be made sensibly only, there should be no other variants," Gusev said.

The bill envisages that eight state agencies, including the Interior Ministry and the Justice Ministry, on the basis of operations and search activities will have a right to inquire about practically any information from the internet community, he added.

"We can end up in lawlessness, particularly given that there are many online resources now registered as mass media outlets," Gusev said. (Passage omitted)

"We are the only country that does not have legal regulation of the activities of the internet community. It's rather a strange picture: we have the internet but it exists sort of on its own," Gusev added. (Passage omitted).

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