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Russia introduces fines for ‘fake news’ on COVID-19 as government’s method questioned

Russia introduces fines for ‘fake news’ on COVID-19 as government’s method questioned

2020-04-01 5:41:00 PM

Russia introduces fines for ‘fake news’ on COVID-19 as government’s method questioned

Two weeks ago, an opposition-leaning radio station in Russia interviewed political analyst Valery Solovei, who alleged the government was lying when it said no one had died in the country from the coronavirus. Solovei told radio station Echo Moskvy at least 1,600 people might have died since mid-January. Russia’s media and internet watchdog, Roscomnadzor, quickly...

[Sign up for our Health IQ newsletter for the latest coronavirus updates]“It stirs up unwarranted tensions, and in this situation it needs to be punished in accordance with the law,” he said.The crackdown on free speech fits a recent pattern. In the past five years, hundreds of people have been prosecuted on charges of extremism for posting, liking or sharing information on social media on sensitive topics like corruption, the conflict with Ukraine, the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the role of the Russian Orthodox Church. Dozens received prison sentences.

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0:51Coronavirus outbreak: EU document shows Russia deploying disinformation to generate panicCoronavirus outbreak: EU document shows Russia deploying disinformation to generate panicIn 2018, Putin acknowledged that prosecuting social media users sometimes turns into “idiocy and absurdity,” and he eased the regulations. Such online hunts have since fizzled out, said Damir Gainutdinov, an internet freedom lawyer with Agora, Russia’s prominent legal aid group.

Story continues below advertisementBut the void is quickly filling again with a crackdown on those who insult officials or spread so-called “fake news” online – misdemeanors that parliament put on the books last year.“I think in the nearest future, we will see a rapid growth (of cases) related to fakes as the authorities are trying to suppress any nonofficial information about the coronavirus,” Gainutdinov told AP.

On Monday,also passed a law setting prison terms of up to five years for those convicted of spreading false information about the pandemic. Rights groups said the law allows the government to crack down on press freedom.READ MORE:Hungary grants government extraordinary powers with no end date amid coronavirus pandemic

The effort to curb alleged disinformation at home came as Russia is once again being accused of spreading it abroad. The European Union recently identified nearly 80 instances of virus-related disinformation in the past two months.This also follows accusations by U.S. intelligence services that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election by spreading false information online — a charge that the Kremlin has steadfastly denied.

Waging disinformation campaigns in the West stems from the same desire to control the narrative, said Mark Galeotti, a Russia expert at the Royal United Services Institute.4:09Cybersecurity concerns during the COVID-19 pandemicCybersecurity concerns during the COVID-19 pandemic

To the Kremlin, “there is no such thing as an objective narrative. So given that it is going to be someone’s narrative that triumphs, of course, you want it to be your narrative rather than someone else’s,” Galeotti told the AP.Story continues below advertisement

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Kremlin critics argue that its effort to stifle alternative voices during the pandemic is unlikely to succeed.Dr. Anastasia Vasilyeva, who works with opposition figure Alexei Navalny and leads the Alliance of Doctors union, made headlines in recent weeks exposing Russia’s underfunded, teetering health care system. She told the AP she was contacted by police about spreading false information in her YouTube blog.

2:12Two families with different COVID-19 experiencesTwo families with different COVID-19 experiences“They will have to prove that I lied, so let them prove it,” Vasilyeva said. “They want to scare me in order to stop the others … the truth won’t change because of it.”

Even asRussia moved to control the narrative during the outbreak, some embarrassing news has still slipped out.On Tuesday, Dr. Denis Protsenko, head of Moscow’s top hospital for coronavirus patients, was reported to have the virus. That came only a week after Putin visited the hospital and was photographed shaking hands with Protsenko.

Peskov sought to assure the country that Putin was fine.“He’s being tested regularly. It’s all right,” Peskov was quoted by the RIA Novosti news agency as saying.Story continues below advertisementDaniel Kozin in Moscow contributed. Read more: Globalnews.ca »

At least real man running the country. Putin's definition of fake news is any fact which undermines his autocracy 😖 Scary. And obviously you are the one who will decide which news is fake which no. Pathetic.

Russia spreading propaganda during COVID-19 pandemic: U of C School of Public PolicyTitled COVID-19 as a Tool of Information Confrontation: Russia’s Approach, the article claims Russia is waging a war of disinformation centering around the COVID-19 pandemic. But somehow Chinese propaganda is totally ignored 🤔 Are these the same people spreading Russia Russia election interference that end up being fake🤓 Lmao not only have we gone to extreme lengths to make enemies with the USA, now we're starting with Russia. This will work out well.

U.S. spy agencies can’t get clear picture of coronavirus spread in China, North Korea, RussiaThe agencies are not just looking for accurate numbers, but also for any signs of the political ramifications of how the crisis is being handled Sure... Yet the media still reports the numbers from China like they’re worth a damn. Because China had shut down millions of cell phones and home lines

Nurmagomedov stuck in Russia; UFC 249 could go on without him - Sportsnet.caDue to border closures implemented as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, Khabib Nurmagomedov is stuck in Russia, casting doubts over whether his fight with Tony Ferguson will happen at UFC 249. Shut it down UFC. There are more important things going on in the world right now. Clowns If the money hungry dirt bag Dana White had any morals he would postpone all UFC events until further notice.

Russia spreading propaganda during COVID-19 pandemic: U of C School of Public PolicyTitled COVID-19 as a Tool of Information Confrontation: Russia’s Approach, the article claims Russia is waging a war of disinformation centering around the COVID-19 pandemic. But somehow Chinese propaganda is totally ignored 🤔 Are these the same people spreading Russia Russia election interference that end up being fake🤓 Lmao not only have we gone to extreme lengths to make enemies with the USA, now we're starting with Russia. This will work out well.

Nova Scotia confirms 5 new cases, community spread of COVID-19The Nova Scotia government has confirmed there is community spread of COVID-19 in the province. CTV_Liveat5 McNeil should smarten up and define what an “essential” manufacturer really is! These companies taking advantage of the situation. People play by the rules when home. And rules are broke when at work!

Marni Soupcoff: We need better, clearer communication from our governments on COVID-19It’s still not even clear to a lot of Ontarians whether it’s OK to go for a walk or to visit a pharmacy while self-isolating because the directions from their public officials have not been absolut… They should have been telling people a long time ago to wear a basic mask when out in public, and donate your N95 masks to hospitals.