Global  

Fake news or the truth? Russia cracks down on virus postings

SeattlePI.com Wednesday, 1 April 2020
MOSCOW (AP) — 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 pressured the station to delete the interview from its website.

The demand was part of a widespread government campaign against what authorities called “fake news” about the pandemic.

On Tuesday, Russian lawmakers began putting some teeth behind the campaign, approving fines of up to $25,000 and prison terms of up to five years for anyone who spreads what is deemed to be false information. Media outlets will be fined up to $127,000 if they disseminate disinformation about the outbreak.

Lawmakers rushed the bill through all three readings in just one day after President Vladimir Putin spoke about the need to counter “provocations, stupid gossip and malicious lies” about the outbreak.

The crusade began about a month ago, when Russia's caseload was still in the single digits. The Kremlin's stance of “everything is under control” prompted speculation that authorities might be hiding or underreporting the scale of the outbreak in line with Soviet-era traditions of covering up embarrassing truths.

A broad set of measures was outlined and a special “fake news” division in the government’s coronavirus task force was created. A group within Russia's Investigative Committee was put together to chase down alleged disinformation.

Social media users who doubted the official numbers and news outlets questioning the government response became targets for law enforcement seeking to weed out...
0
shares
ShareTweetSavePostSend
 
Video credit: Veuer - Published
News video: Russia Set to Fine, Jail Those Who Spread Misinformation About Coronavirus

Russia Set to Fine, Jail Those Who Spread Misinformation About Coronavirus 01:24

Russia is set to adopt major fines and harsh prison sentences for those who spread misinformation about the coronavirus pandemic. Veuer’s Justin Kircher has the story.

You Might Like


Related videos from verified sources

Roger Stone Bought More Than 200 Facebook Accounts In 2016 [Video]

Roger Stone Bought More Than 200 Facebook Accounts In 2016

Unsealed FBI records show that Roger Stone bought hundreds of fake Facebook pages in 2016. According to Business Insider, he used them to distribute news articles that would hurt his political rivals...

Credit: Wochit     Duration: 00:32Published
China faces new virus flare-up on Russian border [Video]

China faces new virus flare-up on Russian border

Having all but declared victory in the coronavirus battle in the epicentre of Wuhan, China now faces a new flare-up along its remote northern border with Russia. The frontier has been sealed and..

Credit: PA - Press Association STUDIO     Duration: 00:46Published

Related news from verified sources

Fake news or the truth? Russia cracks down on virus postings

MOSCOW (AP) — Two weeks ago, an opposition-leaning radio station in Russia interviewed political analyst Valery Solovei, who alleged the government was lying...
Seattle Times


Tweets about this