MOSCOW, January 19. /TASS/. The Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) delegation intends to raise the issue of IT companies violating freedom of speech at the upcoming sessions of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (PA OSCE), head of the State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Leonid Slutsky told reporters Tuesday.
Opening the spring session of the lower house, Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin instructed the committee to urge international organizations to review the freedom of speech situation in the US as certain social media accounts of President Donald Trump and his supporters were locked down after the recent unrest in Washington DC.
"As part of the work on the instruction delivered by the State Duma speaker when opening the spring session, the Foreign Affairs Committee will study in detail possibilities to raise the issue of double standards in the freedom of speech area in the context of what’s happening in the US right now for discussion in inter-parliamentarian organizations. Manipulation of public psyche, imposition of one-sided interpretation of events, blocking of social media accounts of biggest politicians and their supporters, primarily Donald Trump who received votes from almost half of American voters, run completely counter to democratic values promoted by Washington," Slutsky stressed.
The lawmaker noted, "the situation could have been viewed as a domestic affair of the US, but it is a worrisome signal for the global information space as well where American Internet giants practically remain monopolists." "We intend to initiate discussions of problems arising from this IT lawlessness and protection of freedom of speech in general at all inter-parliamentarian forums possible, primarily in the PA OSCE and the PACE session that opens on January 25. As Vyacheslav [Volodin] pointed out, international organizations should not silently bury their heads in sand," Slutsky concluded.
Previously, Facebook, which also owns Instagram, decided to deprive Donald Trump of his ability to post messages on these social networks until his term in office expires on January 20, the day of Biden’s inauguration. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg stated that Trump had intended to use his remaining time in office to obstruct the peaceful and legal transition of power. Later, Trump’s accounts were reactivated.
Twitter permanently banned Trump’s account, citing the outgoing president’s violation of its terms of service and the possibility that Trump could use the platform to incite violence.
Moreover, Apple and Google deleted Parler, a microblogging and social networking service popular among Trump supporters, from their app stores, while Amazon decided to no longer provide cloud hosting services to the platform.