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4 Oct, 2021 14:15

Journalists spreading ‘disinformation’ about Russian elections face court, head regulator warns as she claims ‘meddling’ on rise

Journalists spreading ‘disinformation’ about Russian elections face court, head regulator warns as she claims ‘meddling’ on rise

The Russian government will take action against reporters and commentators who share what officials say are fabricated allegations about the country’s democratic processes, the head of the national election watchdog has revealed.

Speaking at a meeting last week, Ella Pamfilova, Chairwoman of the Central Election Commission, said that there were “many” claims of publications spreading disinformation, and that authorities would focus on identifying wrongdoing, rather than litigating against every case of it.

“However,” she said, “we will take legal action against authors who deliberately replicate and disseminate deliberate lies and slander when it comes to our elections,” she said. According to her, the first “candidate” for such a case has already been identified.

“We are monitoring everything, tracking it, seeing it,” she added. “In the past, we did not do this – which was in vain. Now, we will... They will pay fines and we will send the money to charity. Let them at least bring some benefit to society for their lies.”

According to Pamfilova, the parliamentary election campaign last month saw more efforts to interfere in the process than in previous years. “Some do it for various psycho-emotional reasons,” she alleged, “and there are clearly planned provocations aimed at disrupting the vote.” More than 3,200 individual complaints have been received during the course of this year already, the official revealed, an increase over just 2,000 the year prior.

Former President Dmitry Medvedev told RT in the wake of the vote that he believes US tech giants and social networks played too great a role in the election campaign. “When I check Twitter recommendations on who to follow – of course, the first person who comes up is [jailed opposition figure Alexey] Navalny, who is serving a criminal sentence. Isn't this interference in the affairs of a foreign country? It’s blatant interference,” Medvedev said.

“Everyone's sick and tired of Big Tech – including the United States,” he went on. “Big Tech plays by its own corporate rules. They made them up, and now that’s how they decide things. They let some off the hook, give others the chop. They blocked the former US president everywhere. He had 85 or 90 million followers... bye-bye! Why? [They] don’t like him.”

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