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Russian watchdog briefs media on how to avoid inciting religious discord

January 13, 2015, 20:28 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Under the law, any act insulting other religions' sanctuaries can be regarded as incitement of religious discord, Roscomnadzor says
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© EPA/JAMAL NASRALLAH

MOSCOW, January 13. /TASS/. Russia's media watchdog said on Tuesday it had conducted what it described as preventative briefing of the country’s central and regional media on how to avoid publishing materials that might incite religious discord.

In response to a TASS query regarding the instructions the watchdog's Kamchatka branch issued to local media against publishing religion-related cartoons Roskomnadzor literally said this: “In connection with the tragedy in France, Roskomnadzor has conducted preventative work with a number of Russian federal and regional media. It has addressed the editorial offices with a reminder of the Russian law prohibiting the use of mass media for extremist activities.”

“Under the law, any act insulting other religions' sanctuaries can be regarded as incitement of religious discord. This is a direct violation of provisions of the federal laws on mass media and on resistance to extremist activities,” Roskomnadzor said.

“There can be no excuse for terrorists’ actions,” it said, warning Russian media against “fanning sectarian tensions in Russian society.” The watchdog asked them to use “other ways of expressing solidarity” with the victims of last week's extremist Islamist attack on the office of France's satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris.

A Russian journalist in Kamchatka earlier published a letter from Roskomnadzor on Facebook saying distribution or even publication of hyperlinks to caricatures of religious figures would be seen as a violation of the law.

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