Russian ‘anti-fake news’ bill rushed through parliament despite vocal opposition | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

Russian ‘anti-fake news’ bill rushed through parliament despite vocal opposition

The Russian State Duma is considering multiple bills of law that would further stifle free speech in Russia's already heavily restricted internet environment.

One targets expressions of “willful disregard” towards the state. Another targets disinformation. All of them echo increasingly global concerns among governments about the political implications of disinformation — and unbridled criticism — on the internet. And all have been heavily criticized by Russian civil society groups, experts, users and even the government’s own ministers. Yet these bills promoting possible further crackdown on free speech still trudge on through the legislative system.

The first bill, a “sovereign internet” initiative, which is yet to reach the floor of the lower chamber of Russia’s bicameral parliament, seeks to establish state-regulated internet exchange points that would allow for increased monitoring and control over internet traffic moving into and out of the country.

One of the two bills co-authored by the controversial senator Andrey Klishas — who walked out of his own initiative’s committee hearing and refused to present it personally on the Duma’s floor — suggests new restrictions on “knowingly and maliciously disseminating false information of public importance.”