Target: President Vladimir Putin
Goal: Halt orders to block or ban online media
As part of the recent crackdown resulting from the conflict in Ukraine, the Russian government is considering new restrictive laws on the internet. Already the government has blocked several independent websites that publish “extremist” or oppositional content. With hundreds of protesters already detained, the Russian government wants no one in the country to speak out against the conflict. However these new laws restrict the right to freedom of speech and expression, and these orders must be immediately halted.
The dismissal of the editor in chief and executive director of the last remaining news outlet that provides objective coverage of events is only the beginning of Russia’s crackdown on the media. The last major independent television news channel is also on the verge of going bankrupt when major cable and satellite providers had to drop it due to an official warning from the Russian government. The authorities also blocked three opposition websites for publishing banned content.
A new law that went into effect in February 2014 would ban websites that contained “extremist” content, call for mass riots, or call for unsanctioned gatherings in public places. Authorities would not need a court order, nor would the website owner be informed before the block took place. The owner is allowed to appeal the decision, although with the recent hostile attitudes the Russian government is exhibiting, it is highly unlikely these bans will be removed.
The new laws that are being considered by Russian policy makers are imposing heavy restrictions on mass media and research centers, and require bloggers to register as a mass media outlet and comply with relevant media regulations. Organizations that also engage in political activities are required register as “foreign agents;” in other words they are spies or traitors.
These new restrictive proposals should not come to fruition. The people of Russia should have the right to voice their concerns in a friendly environment, but the government continues to be hostile and aggressive. Russia has no right to silence their citizens and these orders must be halted. Sign this petition and don’t let these proposals become law.
Dear President Vladimir Putin,
It has come to my attention that your policy makers are considering new laws to block or ban online media. These new laws would violate your citizens’ right to freedom of speech and expression, and I must insist that these new laws never go into effect. Your government already have hundreds protester and dissidents detained, if you continue to silence the people they will riot against you.
Time and time again, your citizens continue to be stomped on whenever they express their opinions. As a government that serves the people, you must listen to their voices. Your government should have a friendly and ongoing debate with the citizens instead of crushing their views. As a country, you are failing your people if these new laws are passed.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Newtown graffiti via flickr