New Libel Law Unlikely to Involve Politicians, Media

Russia’s new law that recriminalizes defamation is unlikely to involve politicians and media workers, but will be of great use for people in the artistic, business and scientific fields, Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday.

Earlier in the month Putin signed into law a bill that criminalizes defamation, a move that the opposition has decried as an apparent attempt to silence critics of the Kremlin.

“It is by a definition that a person involved in politics is unlikely to go to a court to accuse someone of libel, not to mention representatives of mass media,” Putin said addressing a camp of pro-Kremlin youth activists in Seliger.

He said this law will be popular among people from other areas of profession, primarily “representatives of show business and the arts… science representatives and businessmen.”

In mid-July a group of some 30 journalists staged a rally in front of the Russian parliament’s lower house, the State Duma, protesting against the new law, which they fear will be used to censor their work.

The new law carries fines of up to five million rubles ($170,000) for misinformation that damages a person’s reputation.


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