We support the Statement by the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation in connection with the violation of the principle of freedom of speech by global American Internet companies.
The restrictive actions taken by the administration of American social media giants with regard to the content posted on their platforms have delivered a blow to the democratic system of values and the international information architecture.
The permissibility of arbitrary, without a court decision, and non-transparent censorship of media content by digital platforms puts in question the role of the state as the guarantor of compliance with international obligations on the freedom of expression by subjects under its jurisdiction.
This is a violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the Helsinki Final Act and other OSCE documents, which the United States signed.
This precedent shows that American IT giants are free to formulate the image of the communication infrastructure in the interests of their corporations and their curators, in complete disregard of the fundamental democratic and ethical norms.
Therefore, the international community is facing the challenge of ungovernable information space and the exposure of personal data accumulated by social media.
We have taken note of a large number of fake news about Russia posted by American digital platforms that systemically produce provocational content, which is, in turn, coordinated by the US Embassy in Moscow. On January 27, a US Embassy official was summoned to the Foreign Ministry of Russia, where he was handed a note of protest containing a warning that Russia reserves the right to take reciprocal action.
Discussions on the risks posed by American IT media giants’ monopoly to the freedom of communication and human rights have been ongoing at relevant international platform for years. However, any attempts to reinforce the regulation of social media have been hindered by our Western colleagues who interpret such proposals as an infringement on the freedom of speech.
It is obvious that the media sphere must be regulated and codified. Constructive dialogue must be established with all the interested parties for stimulating efforts to work out explicit requirements for transparent standards of social media content moderation and to formalise them in international documents.
There is pressing need for launching joint substantive efforts towards this end at relevant international organisations, first of all the UN, the Council of Europe and the OSCE.