Kremlin rejects formal approach to bill regulating internet reposts of extremist materials

Vladimir Putins press secretary has commented on plans to decriminalize internet reposts of extremist materials, saying regulation should not become exaggerated, but noting that citizens needed protection in certain cases.

The president has already said that a formal approach is out of place in cases when this takes some exaggerated forms,” Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Thursday when asked about possible developments around the bill criminalizing any promotion of extremist materials, including reposts on social networks.

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At the same time, Peskov underlined that a careful approach to the problem did not mean that the Kremlin supported the spreading of harmful information.

Peskov said that citizens must be shielded from situations that are not informative but still attract a lot of public attention and extensive media coverage. The official also told reporters that anyone who works with the bill must be very attentive in order to maintain balance.

The comments came after two Russian MPs drafted a bill in late June decriminalizing reposts of extremist materials on social networks and making such violation a civil offence punishable with fines. The sponsors of the bill claimed that such change would add fairness to situations when citizens get punished for actions that are not extremely dangerous for society.

However, earlier this week Russian media reported that the government has studied the bill and recommended not to pass it because of some contradictions in its text and the lack of explanations as to why it is necessary.

Government experts also wrote in their review that, according to statistics, the number of reposts of extremist materials was constantly rising and decriminalization would hardly break this tendency.

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