The present report considers the issue of restrictions on freedom of the Internet in Russia during 2011. The conclusions of the report are based on the results of monitoring by the Agora Human Rights Association and are a follow-up to a similar report published in June 2011 (http://openinform.ru/news/unfreedom/22.06.2011/25193/).
Monitoring conducted by Agora shows that, in practically all regards, pressure on Internet users in Russia continues to grow. Murders and attacks have resumed, and the number of Internet websites included in a federal list of extremist materials has increased (from 13 in 2010 to 22 in 2011). There have been further developments in the unlawful practice of blocking access to whole websites because of the publication of individual materials designated as extremist. In 2011 criminal charges were brought in a number of cases related to publications on the Internet of materials critical of the authorities. In the country as a whole, a significant number of staff employed at educational institutions and libraries were disciplined for violating instructions to stop access to particular Internet resources.
At the same time, Agora’s legal analysts believe there has been a gradual rolling back of the practice of bringing charges against activists for inciting hatred in relation to social groups, defined as “representatives of government”, “police officers” and so on.
For the whole of 2011 Agora registered 500 instances of restrictions on freedom of access to the Internet or persecution of Internet users for exercising their right to freedom of expression. [Read more]