Regulation of Online Freedom of Expression in Russia in the Context of the Council of Europe Standards
This chapter compares the Russian national legislation on online freedom of expression with the Council of Europe’s (CoE) legal standards on this issue to investigate the extent to which the Russian legislation has been consistent with the CoE vision. The chapter first examines the CoE perspective, including the European Court of Human Rights case law and non-binding documents of the other main CoE institutions. It then analyses the Russian national legislation and the perspectives of the highest Russian courts. The chapter compares the CoE and Russian legal visions of key principles in the governance of online freedom of expression, the new notion of media, editorial responsibility for users’ comments, the right to anonymity, and the protection of journalists from surveillance. The chapter concludes that the Russian legislation on online freedom of expression needs a considerable revision to comply with the CoE standards and suggests that Internet companies and international organisations should drive this process.