18 June 2012
Source: Open News Agency
Photo: Open News Agency
The owners of Internet Forums are not liable for users’ comments.
The Civil Division of the Supreme Court of Chuvashia ruled on 18 June 2012 that owners of internet forums are not liable for users’ comments. The chair of the human rights defence organization Shield and Sword, Aleksei Glukhov, told Agora of the court’s decision. Glukhov was also the lawyer acting on behalf of the internet forum owner.
“I am very pleased with the judges' decision to defend the freedom of the Internet in Chuvashia,” Glukhov stated. “The essence of the ruling is that, unless the administrators of an Internet resource have made any changes to content created by a third-party, and if the site has no pre-publication moderation, then the law protects the owner of an Internet forum from civil liability. Surprisingly, the same position can be found in the UN/OSCE “Joint Declaration on Freedom of Expression and the Internet.” I am also almost certain that we shall see that the provisions to be found in the joint declaration will form a part of the reasoning for the ruling on appeal when it is published. If this happens, then the Chuvash judges will be at the forefront of protecting Internet freedom in Russia.”
In 2010, several users of the popular Chuvash website “Na-sviazi.ru” appealed to the courts when they felt insulted by some comments published on the site. Even though the owner of the forum was neither the author of the insulting comments, nor had the ability to review comments before they were published, and even though the claimants had not brought their concerns to the attention of the owner, the Lenin district court in Cheboksary had sided with the claimants. The court had ordered the owner to pay damages to the claimants and to apologize.