New Report on Threats to Internet Freedom in Russia

posted 24 Jun 2011, 13:56 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 24 Jun 2011, 13:58 ]
Source: (info), 22/06/11

Russian human rights defenders have identified 111 incidents of restricted access to the Internet and persecution of Internet users in the period January 2008 – May 2011. While for the whole of 2008 only 12 incidents were recorded, in the first five months of 2011 there have already been 23.

The Internet in Russia is under serious threat, and intentional limitation of access to the global network is considered to be an assault on fundamental human rights. These points are made in a new report by the Agora Human Rights Association published today, entitled Threats to Internet freedom in Russia, 2008-2011. The report marks the beginning of a new endeavour by Agora to monitor Internet freedom in Russia, which will be accompanied by publication of regular reports.

RuNet activists have been killed and assaulted. There have been attempts to limit freedom of the Internet through legislation. More typical threats are the criminal prosecution of bloggers (for defamation, offensive language or extremism), civil suits for libel (mostly brought by officials), and cautions and warnings issued by prosecutors. The targets of these practices are Internet forums, social networks, Live Journal and Twitter. Owners of websites faced the closure of their websites and cyber attacks, which the police do nothing to investigate; they are cautioned by the Federal Oversight Agency for Telecommunications, Information, Technology and Mass Communications; and suffer limitations on access to their sites, imposed by the providers. The overall freedom of RuNet has repeatedly been the target of criticism by the Federal authorities, from the leadership of the FSB to deputies of the State Duma.

Agora has identified 22 legislative initiatives, proposals and actions designed in one way or another to regulate access to information on the Internet, and 65 incidents in which Internet activists have been harassed and persecuted. Among incidents recorded by Agora are the murder of two owners of the website, three assaults on bloggers and journalists, 22 criminal prosecutions, 25 defamation lawsuits, 14 cyber attacks, nine instances of restricted access to the Internet or to particular websites, and also official warnings and cautions issued by prosecutors and other bodies.

Text of the report Threats to Internet freedom in Russia, 2008-2011 in English

Text of the report
Threats to Internet freedom in Russia, 2008-2011 in Russian

Source: Agora Human Rights Association

Rights in Russia,
24 Jun 2011, 14:01