Constitutional Court obliges website owners to remove defamatory materials

posted 13 Jul 2013, 14:07 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 13 Jul 2013, 14:09 ]
9 July 2013 

Source: (info)
The Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation has ruled that the owners of Internet websites must remove defamatory materials against people on the basis of a court decision. The Court examined whether Sections 1, 5 and 6 of Article 152 of the Civil Code of the Russian Federation conform to the Constitution.

The reason for the examination of the matter was a complaint by Russian citizen Evgeny Krilov. In October 2009 an unidentified person placed photographs of Krilov on an Internet forum with personally critical comments and opinions. “Subsequently, anonymous users of the forum discussed this material and added many offensive commentaries,” the Constitutional Court press office reported.

In June 2010 the district court nearest to the applicant’s place of residence found that materials distributed via the Internet forum had been false and defamatory. Krilov took the company that owned the website of which the forum was part to court, demanding that they delete defamatory data from the website and compensate him for moral harm. The court dismissed the suit on the grounds that the defendants should be the authors of the insulting comments, and not the administration of the forum.

“Now the owners of any website, even if it is not registered as a media outlet, are obliged to remove information posted by users on the site that has been found by a court to be compromising in nature. However, website owners are not to be held financially responsible for other people’s commentaries,” the Constitutional Court emphasized.

The Constitutional Court established that it is necessary to introduce additional legislative guarantees against defamation on the Internet, and ruled that the court decisions made in the case of Evgeny Krilov be reconsidered, Rosbalt news agency reports.