Russian president scraps bill restricting press freedom

June 3rd, 2008 - 4:03 pm ICT by IANS  

RIA Novosti
Moscow, June 3 (RIA Novosti) Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has recommended scrapping of a bill which seeks to restrict media freedom, the Kremlin press service has said. The bill was approved by parliament in its first reading April 25.

The ‘libel bill’ proposes penalizing for spreading “false information,” including discrediting an individual or his reputation.

The bill had been criticized by members of the Public Chamber as an “attempt to limit the constitutional right of citizens to the freedom of the mass media.”

“The bill’s provisions can only create obstacles to the normal functioning of the mass media and are at odds with the set goal, which is protecting citizens’ interests against the spread of libellous information,” the president said in a review of the bill.

He also said the definition of “libel” was already contained in the criminal code, while only a court of law may rule on whether a particular statement is libellous or not.

The document also recommended that the bill be pulled from the agenda of the State Duma, the lower house of parliament.

The State Duma speaker and the leader of the majority United Russia party, Boris Gryzlov, said earlier that the party would not approve the bill as Medvedev regarded it as “premature”.
RIA Novosti

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