Website owners obliged to delete slanderous comments posted by others – Russian Constitutional Court

Russian Constitutional Court file photo

(Interfax – ST. PETERSBURG, July 9, 2013) Website owners are obliged to delete information discrediting citizens posted in comments sections, the Russian Constitutional Court ruled.

The resolution was made at a session on Tuesday. According to the materials of the court’s press office, the implementation of the right to freedom of speech imposes relevant obligations and responsibilities, including the respect of rights of the reputation of other people. These fundamental principles apply to the Internet as well.

The standards being contested in the Russian Constitutional Court did not directly require removing information discrediting a person, which has been recognized as untrue by the court, from websites not related to mass media outlets. The standards also did not stipulate any responsibility for not complying with the demands to delete such information.

“The common practice of applying such standards does not ensure enough guarantees of protection of constitutional rights of individuals, about whom slanderous information was released, and thus contradicts the Russian Constitution,” the materials said.

The Russian Constitutional Court ruled that it was necessary to introduce additional legislative guarantees to protect honor, dignity and reputation on the Internet.