Target: Vladimir Putin, President of Russia
Goal: Stop implementation of unfair blogging limitations and regulations
Online bloggers in Russia will soon face a slew of regulations, restrictions, and liabilities thanks to recent amendments to anti-terror laws. The amendments will hold all bloggers with a following of over 3,000 daily visitors to the standards of major media outlets, while granting none of the protections afforded to members of the media.
The new law states that all bloggers with over 3,000 views per day must register with the country’s media oversight board. Bloggers will be required to verify their information for accuracy as well as display their full names and contact information. They will be subject to the same legal limits and liabilities as the mass media, including abiding by bans on extremism, pornography, electoral propaganda, and even coarse language.
Under the new legislation, users of social networking sites such as Twitter, a microblogging website, are also subject to the limitations. Bloggers can even be held liable for third-party comments made on their blogs or social media sites. The legislation will require that all blogging platforms and social media websites store user information for at least six months.
Refusal to register or abide by the law is punishable by a fine of 10,000 to 30,000 rubles for individuals, while the fine can almost double for subsequent offenses. Blogs that fail to comply with the law on multiple occasions can be placed under administrative suspension for one month.
Implementing the law as scheduled would deal a strong blow to freedom of speech in Russia, essentially eliminating anonymous comment online, though there is one more opportunity to stop it. Demand that President Vladimir Putin reject the bill, which violates citizens right to privacy and free expression online.
Dear President Vladimir Putin,
A recent amendment to Russia’s anti-terrorism bill will force all Russian bloggers with over 3,000 daily viewers to abide by regulations similar to those followed by the mass media. Bloggers will be expected to register with Russia’s media oversight board and provide their full name and contact information on their blog. They will be expected to ensure the accuracy of all information, and will be held liable for any third party comments made on their blogs.
Though the amendment would hold bloggers to standards similar to those of the mass media, it offers none of the legal protection enjoyed by traditional media outlets. The law will stifle anonymous bloggers and political discourse online, oppressing citizens’ rights to privacy and freedom of speech. I ask that the scheduled implementation of this new amendment be cancelled and the law be thrown out.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Chris He via Creative Commons