ARTICLE 19, Justice for Journalists Foundation (JFJ), OVD-Info and Access Now have submitted a Joint UPR Submission that gauges the constantly worsening situation of freedom of expression in Russia, for the 44th Session of the Working Group.
Our submission in particular examines:
- persecution of media workers and media outlets;
- criminalisation of speech and assembly and association;
- the use of war propaganda and incitement of hatred and violence;
- the use of internet shutdowns;
- website blocking;
- the use of surveillance in violation of Russia’s obligations enshrined in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCRP).
We welcome the opportunity to contribute to the Russian Federation’s fourth review cycle. During the previous, third UPR cycle, Russia received 317 recommendations, of which 191 were accepted, 92 were noted, 34 were partially accepted. None of the recommendations addressed digital rights specifically. Russia supported 5 recommendations on freedom of expression and 1 recommendation on freedom of peaceful assembly and association.
Our key recommendations include:
Repealing the laws unduly restricting freedom of expression, as well as the laws on ‘foreign agents’ and ‘undesirable organisations’;
Review national legislation and policies to fully guarantee the safety of journalists and media workers, human rights defenders, and activists. This also means refraining from arbitrary arrest, detention, and enforced disappearance of media workers;
- Ensuring unrestricted access to alternative information and independent media for all people, including information on the war in Ukraine, putting a stop to disseminating the propaganda of war;
Refrain from shutting down the internet and blocking social media as well as from pressuring tech companies to moderate content online in contravention of the rights to free expression and access to information.