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Russian Internet community against over-regulation, hails government help for Runet

May 25, 2015, 18:58 UTC+3 Alexandrova Lyudmila
©  AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

MOSCOW, May 25. /TASS/. A long-term program for the development of Runet - a road map for the national segment of the world web to follow - will be useful, but a great deal will depend on how it will be translated into reality, Russian experts say. The government should avoid excessive bureaucracy and any other ill-considered moves that might spoil its relations with the Internet community, they say.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has instructed the presidential staff and the Communications Ministry to draft a long-term plan for developing the Runet and the related branches of the economy by October 1. This work is to be conducted in conjunction with the Internet Initiatives Development Fund and the Internet Development Institute.

The government is expected to propose technological solutions for the protection of Russian copyright holders and prevent the illegal circulation of film copies. Also, it must draft measures to support those businessmen who develop Runet and promote Russian technological projects in the Internet sphere to foreign markets.

The Transport Ministry is expected to introduce electronic systems selling inter-city bus services tickets online; the tourist agency Rosturizm must give thought to how to use the Internet to promote internal tourism, etc. And the Health Ministry is to evaluate the introduction of standards for providing medical advice to patients online.

The director of the IT Research and Expertise at the Russian presidential academy RANEPA, Mikhail Braude-Zolotaryov, believes that it is essential to determine which way the domestic segment of the world web should develop.

"It is important to ensure no one should impair Runet’s development or issue unequivocal instructions as to where it should be moving," Braude-Zolotaryov is quoted by the government-published Rossiiskaya Gazeta as saying. "Any groundless control hinders development. For instance, censorship in this or that form or struggle against pirate copies, even these which have not been found piratic by a court of law."

"This document surely has more pros than cons, although certain weaknesses may crop up," the deputy head of the public relations and media policies chair at the RANEPA academy, Lyudmila Vasilenko, told TASS. She is certain that to avoid these the government should coordinate its activities with the public at large and private businesses.

"If the government overdoes it with bureaucratic formalities and imposes excessively strict rules, the Internet community will not accept this," he warned.

The Internet community’s participation in drafting the program should help prevent this and preserve the opportunity of using the web to discuss issues some officials may not like at all, Vasilenko said.

"The golden mean is to be identified. Nobody should be allowed to exert pressures on others," she said.

The chief analyst of Russia’s Association of Electronic Communications, Karen Kazarian, has told TASS that just a couple of years ago the RAEC was asked to launch such a project.

"The way we see it, it is very useful to have such a road map. There are quite a few examples of successful projects around the world. The fundamental question is how to guarantee this plan should be implemented by bodies of state power," he said.

Kazarian still sees certain risks the government may try to establish excessive control of the Internet. For this reason the road map plan is so crucial to ensuring the authorities should realize at last that incentives are far more effective than bans, he said.


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