Проблемы реформирования законодательства о периодической печати в России в начале XX века
Press regulation in Russian Empire was going through a crisis at the beginning of the XXth century, which was caused not only by excessive strictness and at the same time ineffectiveness of the censorship, but also by archaic and contradictory legislation. The existing Statute of Censorship of 1890 was an amended version of the Statute of Censorship of 1828. It included rules on preliminary censorship in the spirit of the Polizeistaat, rules on judicial responsibility, which protected the principle of legality, and the system of administrative sanctions borrowed from Napoleon’s III France, which broadened the sphere of administrative arbitrariness. Many attempts to elaborate a new Statute failed. Instead new “Temporary Rules” regulating selected issues were adopted. For example, the 1865 censorship reform was carried out through the adoption of such Temporary Rules. These Temporary Rules were included into the next edition of the Digest of Laws of the Russian Empire in the chapter with the Statute of Censorship. The editing procedure had a merely technical nature and for this reason a lot of provisions, adopted with different purposes in different epochs did not match each other. The priority of the reform that started in December 1904 was to eliminate the inconsistency and contradiction in press regulation. During the Revolution, the government was forced to take more measures than initially planned: the preliminary censorship was eliminated for most periodicals and the administrative sanctions were abolished. However, the Revolution prevented the reform from being completed. In February 1905, the Special Conference for the Drafting of a New Statute on the Press started its work, which was interrupted by the all-Russian October political strike. And after the adoption of the October Manifesto Prime Minister Sergei Witte hastened to adopt the Temporary Rules in November 1905 to set the boundaries on the exercise of freedom of speech. The Special Conference’s project of the Statute on the Press was unclaimed in the subsequent legislation. Thus, the purpose of elaboration and adopting of a new Statute on Press remained unfulfilled, and the outdated Statute of Censorship of 1890 underwent editorial changes, but remained in force.