Freedom of speech: Statement by Roskomnadzor on publication of cartoons with a religious theme

posted 18 Jan 2015, 05:45 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 27 Jan 2015, 05:47 ]
16 January 2015

Source: (info)
On 16 January, 2015, Roskomnadzor released an official clarification, "as a precautionary measure".

In particular, the following text was published on the Roskomnadzor website:

"Owing to the large number of publications in the media, and discussion surrounding the validity of publishing cartoons in Russia that depict religious sacred objects and may cause offence to believers, Roskomnadzor is providing additional clarification, as a precautionary measure.

Publications in the Russian media that contain such cartoons go against ethical and moral norms that have been developed over centuries as a result of different peoples and religious denominations living together in the same area.

The position of government authorities, including those that supervise and regulate the media, has always been clear and consistent with regard to cartoons with a religious theme.

The circulation of cartoons with a religious theme in the media may be regarded by Roskomnadzor as offensive or degrading to members of religious denominations and organisations. This qualifies as incitement of ethnic and religious hatred, which constitutes a direct violation of the laws "On the Media" and "On Counteracting Extremist Activity".

This position and application of the law came about at an earlier time and were approved by the expert and relevant communities.

For example, in 2006 prosecutors and media supervisory bodies took steps to prevent the dissemination in Russia of cartoons that had been published in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten. In 2008 the editors of the magazine Newsweek (Moscow) received an official written warning for, among other things, publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

In view of the above, Roskomnadzor, expressing unqualified solidarity with the opponents of any manifestations of extremism and terrorism, requests that the Russian media refrain from publishing cartoons that might be deemed a violation of Russian law."

Translated by Lindsay Munford