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Head of Russian Union of Journalists speaks out against online fake news bill

December 12, 2018, 21:12 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Vladimir Solovyev is afraid it may restrict freedom of speech and freedom of media

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MOSCOW, December 12. /TASS/. Head of the Russian Union of Journalists Vladimir Solovyev does not support the online fake news bill on fines up to one million rubles for violating the ban on spreading "fake news". He finds this initiative dangerous for the freedom of speech in Russia.

"Here, in the Union of Journalists, we find this legislative initiative, this offer by the deputies dangerous, as such wording of the bill and the offered punitive measures may restrict freedom of speech and freedom of media," Solovyev told a TASS correspondent. "This is why we, along with the media community, will monitor the discussion of this bill in the Duma (the lower house of the Russian parliament - TASS) and in society, but so far, we are against this law."

Earlier on Wednesday, a package of bills on fines of up to one million rubles for violating the ban on spreading false "socially significant" allegations disguised as authentic reports through the mass media and on the Internet has been submitted to the State Duma.

The bill proposes a ban on publishing in the mass media and on the Internet "untruthful socially significant information disguised as authentic reports, which poses a threat to people’s lives and health and is fraught with mass violations of public order and security, disruption in the operation of crucial life support facilities, transport and social infrastructures or other grave consequences."

Under the bill, violations of this ban will be interpreted as administrative offenses punishable with fines under the Code of Administrative Offenses (30,000-50,000 rubles, an equivalent of $450-$750 for individuals and 400,000-1,000,000 rubles, an equivalent of $6,000-$15,000 for legal entities).

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