People rally in support of Russian journalist Ivan Golunov, who was detained by police, accused of drug offenses, and later freed, in Saint Petersburg, Russia, on June 12, 2019. CPJ and TrustLaw have published a guide to understanding the laws relating to 'fake news' in Russia. (Reuters/Anton Vaganov)

Understanding the laws relating to ‘fake news’ in Russia

A guide for journalists and newsrooms prepared by TrustLaw and the Committee to Protect Journalists

Since the outset of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, CPJ Emergencies has been responding to the needs of journalists in Russia as they sought to navigate—or in some cases escape—an increasingly hostile environment. 

For journalists and media outlets operating in Russia, the introduction of amendments to the country’s criminal and administrative codes in March 2022 marked the beginning of a new and dangerous era, threatening fines and lengthy prison terms for those convicted of disseminating “fakes” or any information that Russian authorities deemed to be false. Many Russian journalists, as well as international journalists working in the country, felt they had no choice but to flee for their own safety. Many of the country’s independent outlets relocated outside Russia.

This guide, jointly assembled by TrustLaw and the Committee to Protect Journalists, is intended to provide user-friendly, practical guidance for both journalists and newsrooms seeking to understand Russia’s “fake news” laws and how they’ve been applied thus far to both local and international press. 

In other languages: Ukrainian | Russian