13 February 2012
Eleven assaults against bloggers and journalists, 173 instances of administrative pressure, 38 criminal prosecutions and 231 instances of limitations on access to websites were registered in 2011 by Agora Human Rights Association.
Agora has also registered 31 cyber-attacks, 11 civil lawsuits won against bloggers, and five proposals made by politicians and officials to tighten regulation of the Internet, Open Information Agency reports.
“Pressure on Internet users in Russia continues to increase in practically all directions,” Agora notes in its latest independent report. “Grave causes for concern are the renewal of murders and assaults against journalists and Internet activists, a series of hacker attacks that go unpunished, and the further development of the unlawful practice of blocking access to ‘undesirable’ Internet sites.
In 2011 criminal charges were brought in a number of cases with regard to Internet publications that contained criticism of the authorities. Many staff of educational institutions and libraries have been disciplined for violating regulations which require that access to particular Internet sites from computers located in schools and libraries be limited.
At the same time, Agora considers that the practice of prosecuting Internet activists for inciting hatred against ‘social groups’, such as ‘representatives of authority’, ‘police officers’, and so on, is gradually being wound up.