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Russian PM: no restrictions on freedom of speech possible in internet era

February 14, 2016, 21:06 UTC+3 MOSCOW

Medvedev said he does not think it serious to say that a part of people have no access to other points of view in the present-day globalized world

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© Sergei Savostyanov/TASS

MOSCOW, February 14. /TASS/. It is absolutely impossible to impose any restrictions on the freedom of speech in the era of Internet, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said in an interview with Euronews TV channel on Sunday.

"To get to the point, we have a lot of various media outlets that still provide a diverse picture, including online media," he said. "When I’m asked about this I always respond based on to the way I perceive the situation. I can tell you that I rarely watch TV or read newspapers in print and I receive virtually all of my information from the internet. And over half of Russia’s population does the same. As you know, on the internet, there is no regulation in this sense. All points of view are represented there, including, to put it bluntly, even extremist ones."

He said he does not think it serious to say that a part of people have no access to other points of view in the present-day globalized world. He noted however that Russia has always differed in its views on the situation with the freedom of expression and the media. "We’ve often been criticised and we are still coming under criticism. We have our own position on the issue. Perhaps in Russia, the media are somewhat different, for example, from the European media. There are historical differences and there are growth issues," Medvedev said.

Dwelling on relations with the opposition and its access to Russia’s central mass media, the Russian prime minister noted that no one bans such access for the opposition. The thing, in his words, is that the opposition is of no interest for most of Russians. He drew parallels with the situation with British Communist Party General Secretary Gordon McLennan or U.S. Communist Party leader Gus Hall who were not given an opportunity to state their position in some respectable magazine or newspaper or on television in the UK or the United States back in the 1970s and 1980s. "Why? Not because they were banned there, but because they were not interesting to anybody," he said. "They were the political fringe, and part of our opposition, unfortunately, is also just that. When they say, "We are not allowed anywhere…" Just show that you’re interesting at least to somebody.".

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