Russian Federation

[RU] Rules established for journalists at public protests

IRIS 2021-2:1/31

Andrei Richter

Center for Media, Data and Society, School of Public Policy, Central European University (Budapest)

A set of amendments that regulates, in particular, the behaviour of journalists covering public protests was entered in the Russian Federation’s Federal Statute “On Meetings, Rallies, Marches and Pickets” (No. 54-FZ of 19 June 2004) by the State Duma on 23 December and signed by the President on 30 December 2020.

The amendments to Article 6 of the Federal Statute expand on the requirement for journalists covering mass events to put on markings that distinguish them as members of the press by saying that such markings shall be designed and approved by Roskomnadzor, the Russian Government’s authority responsible for supervising the media, communications and information technology, upon consent of the Ministry of the Interior, the National Guard of the Russian Federation, and the Russian Union of Journalists.

The focus of the amendments is, however, to prohibit journalists covering public events from exercising the following activities: canvassing during such events, including through wearing related symbols (such as T-shirts); collecting signatures for petitions or citizens' demands, or donations; taking part in the administration of the event; participating in the discussions or the adoption of the decisions related to the aims of the public event; or hiding their markings as members of the press. Violations of the provision shall apparently exclude the journalists from privileges provided to them by the Statute “On the Mass Media.”


References

  • О внесении изменений в Федеральный закон "О собраниях, митингах, демонстрациях, шествиях и пикетированиях
  • http://publication.pravo.gov.ru/Document/View/0001202012300027
  • On amendments to the Federal Statute "On Meetings, Rallies, Marches and Pickets"

This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.