As RBC notes with reference to HRC data, the bill submitted to the State Duma to deregister the media for publishing or reprinting "fake" is contrary to the Constitution, Article 29 of which prohibits censorship. Pavel Gusev, head of the Union of Journalists of Moscow, editor-in-chief of the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, noted that “absolutely any media” could fall under the amended law if adopted.
Recall that on April 6, State Duma deputies from United Russia, Just Russia, the Liberal Democratic Party and New People made a proposal to allow the extrajudicial practice of destroying the media in the country. It involves granting the right to the Prosecutor General and his deputies, without the consent of the court, to revoke the registration and license of media outlets that are suspected of spreading "fakes", including about the actions of the Russian military during a military special operation. Punishment could also follow calls for sanctions.
The current version of the law on the mass media releases editorial offices from liability for reprinting materials from other publications. However, the amendments introduced to the State Duma suggest depriving the editorial board of this protective status and forcing them to answer for the words of their colleagues.
The deputies also proposed to give the Prosecutor General's Office the right to impose a ban on the work of foreign media in Russia in response to the hostile attitude towards Russian media abroad.
As follows from the expert opinion of the commission, "limitation of freedom of speech, the introduction of censorship is possible only when a military regime is established or a state of emergency is declared".
At the same time, in accordance with Art. 87 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation and Art. 1 of the Federal Law "On martial law", restrictions on the constitutional rights of citizens cannot be permanent. In order to restrict rights, including freedom of speech, the president of the country is obliged to officially introduce martial law in the country for a strictly defined period. After its completion, the imposed restrictions are removed.
The Human Rights Council pointed out that the amendments to the law “On Mass Media” proposed by the State Duma deputies are “inappropriate and harmful”. If they are adopted, “absolutely any media” can be blocked, which refers not only to the official statements of the authorities.
Meanwhile, the Constitution of the Russian Federation states:
“Everyone is guaranteed freedom of thought and speech. (…) No one can be forced to express their opinions and beliefs or to renounce them. Everyone has the right to freely seek, receive, transmit, produce and distribute information in any lawful manner. (…) Freedom of the media is guaranteed. Censorship is prohibited".
It is noteworthy that the legislation of the Russian Federation does not allow amendments to Chapter 2 (Articles 17-64) of the Constitution of the Russian Federation.
It should be noted that similar provisions are contained in the law "On Mass Media", article 47 of which reads:
“A journalist has the right to seek, request, receive and disseminate information (…), to express his personal judgments and assessments in messages and materials intended for distribution under his signature”.
Thus, the restriction of the media in the choice of sources of information can also be called discriminatory.