One brave MP

Libel law in Britain is confusing and, it can be argued, unfairly skewed towards the claimant. Libel law in Russia, on the other hand, is now completely batshit. From an AP report, available everywhere:

MOSCOW, Russia (AP) — Russia’s lower house of parliament voted Friday to widen the definition of slander and libel and give regulators the authority to shut down media outlets found guilty of publishing such material.

The bill’s passage comes just days after a scandal involving a tabloid newspaper that reported Putin had divorced his wife and planned to marry a champion gymnast.

The legislation, passed by the State Duma 339-1, is the latest attempt by the government to squeeze the country’s increasingly embattled news media.

The bill allows authorities to suspend and close down media outlets for libel and slander — punishment that is identical to that for news media found to be promoting terrorism, extremism and racial hatred.

It also expands the definition of slander and libel to “dissemination of deliberately false information damaging individual honor and dignity.”

I can’t find out the name of the one MP who decided to vote against the bill, but I hope he or she survives without any repercussions of the kind that have been seen to crop up when one criticises the Putin government.

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