Constitutional court upholds online defamation law

Jul 10, 2013
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On 9 July, the Russian Constitutional Court in St. Petersburg ruled that website owners are responsible for the removal of defamatory information from their sites even if it was posted by a third party. However, they will not have to assume any financial responsibility.

This is the final ruling on the 2009 court case of Yevgeny Krylov, a man whose image was put online by an anonymous forum user and subsequently attacked with insulting comments and captions. The ruling said the forum’s owners had to take down the material but were not financially liable.

The ruling applies to all websites, not just media sites.

Krylov had previously filed a lawsuit against the forum owner demanding the removal of the content, previously ruled to be “false and defamatory” in June 2010, but the court dismissed the lawsuit on the grounds that Krylov should have filed the suit against the anonymous poster.

Putin signed the defamation bill last July. Journalists staged a series of protests in response because they believed it would be used to censor opposition.

About the Author

Molly Jane Zuckerman

Molly Zuckerman is an editorial intern at Transitions Online. She attends Wesleyan University and plans to jointly major in Russian Studies and Comparative Politics.

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