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Chuvashia Court Finds Internet Forums Not Liable For Users’ Comments

Source: (info), 18/06/12

· Freedom of expression  · The Courts  · Chuvashia

The civil division of the Supreme Court of Chuvashia ruled on 18 June that owners of internet forums are not liable for users’ comments, Aleksei Glukhov, chair of the human rights defence organization Shield and Sword, has informed Agora. Glukhov acted as legal counsel for the internet forum owner.

“I am very pleased with the judges’ decision to defend freedom of the Internet in Chuvashia,” Glukhov stated.

“The essence of the court’s ruling is that unless the administrators of the Internet resource have introduced any changes to the content generated by a third-party, and there is no pre-publication moderation on the site, then the law protects the owner of the Internet forum from civil liability. Surprisingly, the same position can be found in the UN/OSCE joint declaration on “Freedom of Expression and the Internet.” I am also certain that when it is published we shall see that the provisions of this declaration will form part of the reasoning for the court of appeals. If this happens, then the Chuvash judges will be at the forefront of Internet freedom in Russia.”

In 2010, several users of the popular Chuvash website “” appealed to the courts when they felt insulted by some comments published on the site. Even though the owner of the forum was neither the author of the insulting comments, nor had the ability to review comments before they were published, and even though the claimants had not complained to the owner about their concerns, the Lenin district court in Cheboksary sided with the claimants. The district court had ordered the owner to pay damages to the claimants and to apologize.