- Freedom of Assembly, News

Russia has started enforcing its ban on ‘fake news.’ The first suspect? A woman protesting landfill pollution

Russian officials in Arkhangelsk have filed the country’s first police report against an individual for spreading illegal “fake news.” According to the news website zona.media, the activist Elena Kalinina used her VKontakte account to promote an unpermitted protest against a local landfill. Police officers reasoned that demonstrations shouldn’t take place without city permits, meaning that Kalinina’s information about the unpermitted protest’s time and location amounts to “fake news.”

According to the website Mediazona, which reports on Russia’s criminal-justice system, this is the first known enforcement of the new law against “fake news,” which took effect on March 29, 2019 — three days before Kalinina posted the rally information on VKontakte. Kalinina has already received three fines related to the same demonstration for a total of 47,000 rubles ($725).