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Putin signs law to fight insults to state symbols

The law establishes fines of up to $4,615

MOSCOW, March 18. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a law on blocking Internet content insulting society, state symbols and government institutions of Russia. The law was published on the official portal of legal information.

The law defines the rules of restricting access to "information expressed in an indecent form which insults human dignity and public morality and shows obvious disrespect for society, the state and official symbols of Russia, the Russian Constitution or other agencies that administer government power in Russia."

Should such information be identified in the information and telecommunication networks, including the Internet, the Russian Prosecutor-General or his deputies will ask the telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor to take measures to eliminate such information or, if it fails to be eliminated, to restrict access to the information resources that distribute it.

Roskomnadzor will be obliged to demand the hosting service provider should take measures to eliminate the content in question and register the date and time of sending such notification. The provider will be obliged to instantly notify the owner of the information resource of the need to eliminate the prohibited content.

The provider will be obliged to block the website, if the content owner fails to take action within 24 hours. Should the provider fails to act properly, the access will be restricted at the level of the communication operator.

After eliminating the fake content the website’s owner will be obliged to notify Roskomnadzor, which "after checking if the notification is true, will promptly notify the communication operator that access to the information resources has been resumed."

Legal responsibility

Corresponding amendments to the Code of Administrative Offences establish fines of up to 300,000 rubles ($4,615) and the possibility of administrative arrest for insulting state symbols and institutions.

The fine for spreading insulting materials may range 30,000 rubles to 100,000 rubles ($466-$1,552). For a second violation the fine will go up to 100,000-200,000 rubles ($1,552-$3,100), and for repeated violations (more than two times) to 200,000-300,000 rubles ($3,100-$4,656). In the latter two cases the proposed alternative punishment is an administrative arrest of up to 15 days.