MOSCOW, July 11 (Itar-Tass) — Russia’s State Duma will consider a draft law envisaging the return of criminal responsibility for defamation after it was taken away from the Criminal Code at the initiative of ex-president Dmitry Medvedev last year.
One of the motion’s authors, Pavel Krashenninikov, who heads the State Duma committee on civil, criminal, arbitration and procedural legislation, said “decriminalization of this article brought no good.”
The criminal responsibility for defamation will depend on the degree of crime. Public defamation or libel in media outlets as well as through the abuse of power stipulates punishment to 24 months in prison or from 180 to 240 hours of corrective labour, while a fine will grow to 200,000-300,000 roubles. One can get two-three years in prison or a fine of up to 500,000 roubles, if defamation is related to a sexual crime or a grave crime.
The punishment for insulting words and behavior that remains in the in the Code of Administrative Offences will be increased from 3,000 to 50,000 roubles for ordinary citizens, 100,000 roubles – for civil servants and 200,000 roubles for legal entities.
As for criminal responsibility for violation of privacy rights, a wrongdoer shall face up to five years in prison, Krasheninnikov said.
Meanwhile, on July 10 at the meeting with Human Rights Council President Mikhail Fedotov, Ombudsman Vladimir Lukin and Commissioner for Entrepreneurs’ Rights Boris Titov President Vladimir Putin proposed “to leave the article on defamation in the criminal law,” but emphasized that he would ask parliamentarians “to exclude a sanction on imprisonment.”
“If we have no enough moral restrictions, we need legislative ones,” Putin said citing as an example the legislations of Germany and Great Britain, which envision serious prison sentences for defamation.
The president’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said later that Vladimir Putin has already sent to the State Duma a conclusion on the draft law proposing to exclude from it the punishment in the form of imprisonment and compulsory labour.