The Gay Propaganda Prohibition Act introduces a number of changes to federal laws. In particular, the law “On information, information technologies and information protection” is being changed.
In addition to introducing a ban on the distribution of “materials that promote non-traditional sexual relations and (or) preferences,” the word cult is removed from the law. Thus, if earlier it was forbidden to “distribute materials promoting pornography, a cult of violence and cruelty, and materials containing obscene language”, then after the adoption of the law they will simply punish materials “promoting violence”. Under this definition, if desired, publications, for example, about torture, can be “pulled up”, lawyers say.
“The previous ban on the dissemination of materials promoting the cult of violence and cruelty gave less reason to qualify publications about torture and other unlawful acts of violence as prohibited content,” says Konstantin Dobrynin, a lawyer and former deputy chairman of the Federal Chamber of Lawyers. - The new wording of the law, from which the word "cult" is excluded, may well be used to prohibit such publications now with additional zeal of law enforcement officers.
However, it should be emphasized that the law refers to the propaganda of violence and cruelty, that is, the formation of a positive attitude towards violent actions, the rationale for the need to commit such actions. Therefore, the publication of materials about torture can fall under the analyzed prohibitions only if it is carried out in the appropriate context. If the demonstration or description of such actions is aimed at drawing attention to a social problem, accompanied by their negative assessment, then the distribution of such content is not propaganda of violence and cruelty. However, at the present time, the media should be extremely careful when working on such materials, since there is no guarantee that a negative assessment of this phenomenon by journalists will also be perceived by law enforcement officers.”
According to lawyer Dmitry Zakhvatov, according to the letter of the law, materials that promote violence, cruelty, and so on fall under the regulation, but it cannot be ruled out that materials on torture will be blocked on the same basis. Human rights activist Irina Biryukova noted that the prosecution would need to prove the presence of propaganda in the publication, otherwise there would be no corpus delicti. But how the law will be applied is still unknown.
“Only those publications will break the law that will somehow say that it’s good, right, it’s okay,” says Biryukova. - I think that changing the law in this part is a game of wording. The cult of violence is something permanent, like some kind of groupings, the meaning of whose existence is precisely in the use of violence and cruelty. And this is very difficult to prove and few people get it. By removing the word cult, many more people can be brought under the article. For example, the torture video was commented in such a way that “well done, they did the right thing, they should be killed, tortured, etc.” It's already covered under the article. This is if we follow the meaning of the law, but we will see how they will apply it, of course.”