Irony abounds as corporate media elects to boycott Russia over Putin's new law criminalizing “fake news”.
Lawmakers in Moscow passed amendments to the criminal code making the spread of 'fake' information an offense punishable with fines or jail terms. They also imposed fines for anyone calling for sanctions against Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.
Apparently, such efforts to combat “misinformation” interfere with “normal journalism.”
“The change to the criminal code, which seems designed to turn any independent reporter into a criminal purely by association, makes it impossible to continue any semblance of normal journalism inside the country,” Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait said in a statement.
Meanwhile, the Surgeon General's nascent crackdown on “COVID-19 misinformation” (i.e., any reference to the voluminous data contradicting the Faucist fables anointed by “the experts” as “the Science”) gets only passing notice.
A request for information from the surgeon general’s office demanded that tech platforms send data and analysis on the prevalence of COVID-19 misinformation on their sites, starting with common examples of vaccine misinformation documented by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
To be clear: Putin's “fake news” law is reprehensible and speaks to his regime's palpable fear of both the facts and of people acquiring those facts. It underscores the authoritarian nature of the Russian government. It is a bad law. It is a wrong law.
However, that same criticism applies virtually verbatim to efforts by the US government to censor and suppress information under that same rubric of “misinformation”. Calling “misinformation” a public health threat is equally reprehensible and speaks to Washington, DC's palpable fear of both the facts and of people acquiring those facts. It underscores the growing authoritarian nature of our own government.
The bitterest irony of all in Russia's “fake news" law is that, in passing it, “authoritarian” Russia is playing censorship catch-up to the “democratic” US.
Let that sink in.