Target: Chairman of the State Duma, Sergey Naryshkin
Goal: To strike down proposed law that would ban publishing negative information about the Russian government.
A recent law proposed in the Russian State Duma would ban publishing negative information about the Russian government and military. This would be just another step in the Russian government’s attempt to eliminate freedom of expression. The law would ban “dissemination of inaccurate information diminishing the merits of those who died for the Fatherland and undermining authority of the Russian Empire.” This law follows interference by the Russian authorities that blocked or interfered with several websites. Freedom to criticize the government and expose wrongdoings is a cornerstone of democracy and is important for holding public officials accountable for their actions on the behalf of the state.
The Duma member who submitted the draft explained that the bill was aimed to ‘protect the younger generation’ from forming a negative opinion about their ‘Fatherland’. Protecting youth should mean allowing them to access information of all kinds, fostering a sense of equality, and allowing them to make up their own minds. This ban would pertain to all ‘information products,’ which covers mass media, websites, books, films, documentaries, news reporting and even videogames. Banning videogames with a perceived negative slant would certainly not be taken well by the younger generation.
The law will most certainly result in restrictions on information, as the government gets to decide what information is ‘inaccurate.’ The law also authorizes fines of up to $81 for private individuals, up to $676 for people who work in an official capacity and up to $13,500 for officially registered organizations such as NGO’s, and media outlets. This law violates Russia’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. Sign this petition to demand that Russia strike down this law and begin to take freedom of speech more seriously.
Dear Sergey Naryshkin,
The recent law proposed in the State Duma that calls for a ban on negative information should immediately be removed from consideration. The law violates Russia’s obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights. Your government must allow your people the right to freedom of speech and expression. Doing so will only improve your relationship with the international community.
The idea that this law would somehow ‘protect the younger generation,’ as the sponsor of the law argues, is absurd. Denying the right to access information freely denies the youth of your country an opportunity to be on the same level as youth in the countries that allow equal access. I ask that you do more to improve the access to information in your country.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: FOTOBANK.ER via Wikipedia Commons