MOSCOW, December 11. /TASS/. 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. A corresponding document was placed in the electronic data base of the lower house of parliament on Wednesday.
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).
The law on the mass media will interpret the spreading of socially important disinformation fraught with grave consequences as a violation of the freedom of mass media.
Struggle with online information
As follows from the explanatory note, in the modern context of booming information technologies the uncontrolled spreading of false information disguised as authentic reports may entail a wide range of consequences: not only reputational losses for individuals and organizations, manipulation with public opinion, and financial gains, but also real risks to the life and health of people, mass unrest and threats to state, public or ecological security.
"The awareness of the negative aspects of spreading false information makes government institutions in many countries look for ways of preventing them. The European Commission is working on a common European strategy of resisting on-line disinformation," the document runs.
The proposed amendments to Russian legislation "reaffirm legal guarantees against the abuse of the freedom of speech, which may pose a threat to state and public security.".