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Tuesday 20th March 2018

Russian MPs Vote to Punish Media for 'Fake News'


7Dnews London

Wed, 06 Mar 2019 17:34 GMT

Under a Russian law that was approved by lawmakers on Wednesday March 6th, officials will have the power to fine or block online media platforms for publishing news they see as “fake”.

However, Rights groups say the move is leaning towards censorship.

AFP reports that the vote was passed by Russia's lower house of parliament, which is overwhelmingly dominated by the pro-Kremlin United Russia party.

The law would allow prosecutors to decide what is considered as "fake news" and gives a media watchdog the power to demand an outlet delete the information.

Websites that fail to comply would be blocked.

Fines could reach 1.5 million rubles (over $22,700) if the violation leads to grave consequences like death or rioting.

Fake news circulated through the internet can "lead to mass unrest" and undermine state security, the bill's authors say.

After a blast on New Year’s Eve that killed dozens, lawmakers in Russia took the first step to speak of the need for such a law.

Officials said it was a gas explosion, but some independent media suggested that it was a terror attack, whereby Isis claimed the alleged attack two weeks after it occurred, leading to public confusion.