OSCE representative decries freedom of expression restrictions in Russia

The OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe), Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, voiced his concern about the blocking of Telegram, as well as legal restrictions on social networks will he feels will limit the freedom of expression in Russia. Desir particularly noted that these may hamper ‘the important role of Internet intermediaries in facilitating the exercise’ of these rights. Actions were taken against Telegram after application developers did not provide the security services with decryption keys for its messaging service, as ordered. 

Desir also noted that on 12 April, the State Duma adopted amendments to the Law on Information, Information Technologies, and Protection of Information which requires social networks to ‘compromise the anonymity of their users’ as well as adding new takedown and deletion of content rules, where non-compliance will result in blockage of the websites. Desir called on the Russian authorities ‘to reconsider this restrictive measure and to promote a free, independent and diverse communications environment’.