Censorship of comments

Ministry calls for media network to censor extremist comment on Web media.

Russia's Communications Ministry is to discuss proposals on July 14 for ways to speed up the process of deleting offensive and extremist user comments from online media pages.

Sergei Zheleznyak, who heads the information policy committee in the State Duma, the lower chamber of the Russian parliament, said a special state-run network of all Russian online media should be set up to quickly inform moderators and editors about offensive and extremist content detected on their websites.

"Such a database will enable [Russian telecoms regulator] Roskomnadzor to control users' comments on the Internet and inform online media about extremists or offensive comments on their material," Zheleznyak said.

The initiative is part of a drive by the ministry's Council for Internet and New Media to fulfil President Medvedev's instruction for better legislation on accountability of Internet media for user comment posted on its pages. The ministry has to present its proposals by August 1.

The proposed amendments, if adopted, would not affect bloggers and social networking sites.

"They [the proposals] will affect only online media, whose activities fall under the law on the media," Zheleznyak said.

An online service of this type may be launched next year. It would also enable users to lodge complaints about comments that they find offensive.

Zheleznyak said proposals have been made to cut from three days to 24 hours the period in which media must delete an offensive comment or face litigation.

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