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Russian State Duma committee to discuss fake news bill on January 14

January 03, 17:32 UTC+3 MOSCOW

The bill proposes a ban on publishing in the mass media and on the Internet "untruthful socially significant information disguised as authentic reports

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MOSCOW, January 3. /TASS/. The Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) committee on information policy, information technologies and communications plans to discuss the so-called fake news bill on January 14, the committee’s chairperson Leonid Levin told TASS on Thursday.

"We plan to dedicate an expanded session of the committee on January 14 to this bill," the MP said. "On the outcomes of the session, we will determine the date of its discussion in the [Russian State] Duma, in particular, the date of its first reading." "The events of recent days can become a topic for today’s session," the politician confirmed in response to the question about several publications related to the building collapse in Magnitogorsk.

In December, 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).

A section of a ten-story apartment block collapsed in Magnitogorsk on December 31. According to the latest data, the accident claimed the lives of 39 people. Six people were injured, five of them, including two children, are in hospitals. A woman was discharged from a hospital in Magnitogorsk on January 2.

The Russian Investigative Committee views a household gas explosion as the main cause of the accident. On Tuesday, Russian Investigative Committee spokesperson stated that no traces of explosives had been discovered at the collapse site. On Thursday, Magnitogorsk Mayor Sergei Berdnikov stated that there is no connection between the December 31 gas explosion and the January 1 car blast in Magnitogorsk, despite several publications’ reports to the contrary.

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