State Duma Approves Bill Classifying Bloggers as Mass Media
Published: April 20, 2014 (Issue # 1806)
An amendment to an anti-terrorism bill passed by the State Duma will allow Russian bloggers to be prosecuted for publishing content that is deemed a threat to national security.
The State Duma on Friday voted to categorize blogs as media entities during the second reading of a package of anti-terrorism bills prepared in the wake of last December's twin bombings in Volgograd.
According to the amendment, proposed by A Just Russia deputy Alexei Mitrofanov and Liberal Democratic party deputies Andrei Lugovoi and Vadim Dengin, any blogger, social network site, or personal website receiving more than 3,000 hits a day with commercial advertising on their blog will fall under the same category as other online media.
This means that bloggers will have to verify the accuracy of the information they post, adhere to campaign laws and refrain from publishing any material that could be considered "extremist."
Individuals deemed to be in violation of the amendment could be fined anywhere between 10,000-30,000 rubles ($280-$840) for a first-time offense, and between 30,000-50,000 rubles for repeating the offense within a year.
Legal entities could be fined from 50,000-300,000 rubles for breaching the amendment. If they repeat the offense within a year, they could be fined anywhere between 300,000-500,000 or face a 30-day ban on their administrative activity.