Moscow: The Russian State Duma passed two bills on Thursday to ban and punish the spread of fake news that pose security risks.
One bill bans the dissemination of information “under the guise of credible reports”, which harms people’s life or health and disturbs public order or the operations of public facilities.
Penalties vary from 30,000 to 400,000 rubles ($455-6,050) for individuals; from 60,000 to 900,000 rubles ($900-13,600) for officials and from 200,000 to 1.5 million rubles ($3,000-22,799) for legal entities.
Under the bill, prosecutors will have the power to determine the danger criteria caused by the fake news.
If people find unreliable and socially dangerous information online, they can request telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor to restrict access to the information sources.
The other bill stipulates penalties for spreading information offending human dignity and public morality, expressing disrespect for the society, the state, state symbols, the Russian Constitution and the bodies exercising state power.
People found guilty of those actions will face a penalty ranging between 30,000 and 300,000 rubles ($455-4,550) or administrative arrest of up to 15 days.
The bills will become effective after they are endorsed by the Federation Council, signed into law by President Vladimir Putin and officially published.