In­sult­ing Putin may now land you in jail

The Buffalo News - - WORLD NEWS -

MOSCOW – Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin signed laws pun­ish­ing on­line me­dia and in­di­vid­u­als for spread­ing

“fake news” or ma­te­rial that’s con­sid­ered in­sult­ing to Rus­sian of­fi­cials.

Pros­e­cu­tors can now com­plain about on­line pub­li­ca­tions to the state com­mu­ni­ca­tions watch­dog, which has pow­ers to block ac­cess to the web­sites if their own­ers fail to re­move the ma­te­rial promptly. Pub­li­ca­tions found guilty of spread­ing “un­re­li­able so­cially sig­nif­i­cant in­for­ma­tion” may face fines of as much as 1.5 mil­lion rubles ($23,000).

In­di­vid­u­als also face fines and up to 15 days in jail if they pub­lish ma­te­rial on­line that ex­presses “clear dis­re­spect for so­ci­ety, the state, the of­fi­cial state sym­bols of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion, the Con­sti­tu­tion of the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion and bodies ex­er­cis­ing state power.”

The mea­sures were at­tacked dur­ing their pas­sage through par­lia­ment by the Pres­i­den­tial Hu­man Rights Coun­cil, which warned of their po­ten­tial use as meth­ods of re­pres­sion against crit­ics of the au­thor­i­ties.

– Bloomberg News

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