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There Were Registered 1197 Facts of Restriction of Freedom of the Internet in Russia in 2012

There Were Registered 1197 Facts of Restriction of Freedom of the Internet in Russia in 2012
Аrkady Ivanenkov 06.02.2013

Agora submitted annual report "Russia as Global Threat to Free Internet".

103 criminal prosecutions of network users, 208 facts of administrative pressure and 609 cases of restriction of access to sites were registered by legal analysts of Interregional Association of Human Rights "Agora" in 2012. They recorded 47 cyber attacks, 26 civil suits in reference to bloggers and 49 proposals of politicians and officials on Internet regulation for a year. For comparison in 2011 there were registered 38 criminal prosecutions, 173 facts of administrative pressure, 231 cases of restriction of access, 31 cyber attacks, 11 claims and 5 offers on Network regulation. Total number of the revealed violations of freedom of the Internet in comparison with last year grew almost 2,5 times (500 - in 2011, 1197 - in 2012).

For the first time the Internet began to be considered by the Russian state as the main source of threat to its wellbeing and stability. Both increased quantity of cases of restriction and ten times increased number of offers on Internet regulation none of which contained freedom guarantees and was directed only on strengthening of control, responsibility and introduction of new types of censorship testifies about it, is told in the report of Agora “Russia as Global Threat to Free Internet".

- Essential increase in quantity of cases of restriction of freedom of the Internet is recorded by the Russian authorities which is noted practically in all directions - cases of involvement of users to criminal liability became frequent, the number of blocking of sites increased, administrative pressure amplified, - is reported in the report. – At that not only representatives of media community known in online and offline spheres such as Alexey Navalny or Rustem Adagamov, but ordinary users and activists are subjected to prosecutions. For the first time flight of Internet activists abroad became mass phenomenon. Owners of sites also started choosing foreign jurisdictions actively - last year is characterized by fast increase in demand for rent of server equipment abroad.

Besides, violent crimes in relation to bloggers and Internet activists as well as investigation of these facts and Internet censorship are analyzed in the report.

- 2012 became critical for the Runet which promptly left periphery of political life, showed the most ample opportunities for self-organization of active citizens and thus drew close attention of the authorities to itself. The next fight for free Runet will take place in spring when discussion of a law "About the Internet" in the Duma is planned, - legal analysts of the Agora Association predict in the report.

Human rights activists note that in comparison with last year the number of subjects of Federation where the right to the Internet is systematically limited increased. In 2011 there were 35 such subjects, in 2012 - 38. Thus the number of subjects where users are under pressure (there are marked in red on the map of violations) also grew from 4 to 9.

Moscow conceded status of the most dangerous for users city, having transferred palm of victory to Stavropol Krai, is noted in the report: "It should be noted also that the quantity of cases of restriction of the rights of users in the capital practically didn't change: there were 93 of them in 2011, 98 - in 2012. Almost triple reduction is noticed in St. Petersburg – from 38 to 14”.

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