Russia : 11 Media outlets threatened with closure for publishing Charlie Hebdo drawings

05/02/2015
Press release
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Paris, 5 February 2015 - On 26 January the Russian media monitoring agency RosKomNadzor sent a warning to 11 Russian information sites and media outlets for having published or depicted Charlie Hebdo drawings. This latest attack on the Russian press is very alarming and threatens freedom of expression in Russia.

During the last few years Putin has developed a host of judicial tools that enable him to eliminate all sorts of freedoms. The warnings sent to the media are the latest proof of this, said Karim Lahidji, FIDH President. Russia needs to come to its senses now. The situation is becoming very worrying.

The written notice to the media are based on Federal law no. 114 F3 of 25 July 2002 on “combating extremist activity” which authorises the government, without a trial, to prevent and suppress media whose contents “stir up ..ethnic or religious discord”, and are “insulting or humiliating”. After three warnings the authorities can close down a media outlet and withdraw its journalists’ press cards.

FIDH is also concerned about the RosKomNadzor decree of 16 January 2015 that forbids any media outlet to publish or reproduce drawings deemed to harm religions. Our organisation strongly denounces the recent conviction of two activists, Mark Galperin and Vladimir Ionov to, respectively 8 days of detention and a fine of 20,000 roubles for having waved an “I am Charlie” sign in Moscow on January 10th. How can a government take such a position when its Minister of Foreign Affairs joined the huge January 11th demonstration in Paris? FIDH President, Karim Lahidji asked.

FIDH points out that according to the European Court of Human Rights [1], freedom of expression must also be applied to “information or ideas …that offend, shock or disturb the State or any other sector of the population. Such are the demands of that pluralism, tolerance and broadmindedness without which there is no democratic society”.

The following 11 information sites and media outlets received the warning on 26 January: grani.ru, wek.ru, internovosti.ru, kurier-media.ru, vkpress.ru, lenoblinform.ru, rbc.ru, lenizdat.ru, respublika-kaz.info, rb.ru and RuNews24.ru.

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