Russian senator proposes to suspend officials for withholding information
MOSCOW, February 12 (RAPSI) – Konstantin Dobrynin, deputy head of the Federation Council Committee on Constitutional Law and State Development, has proposed suspending officials for up to one year for denying information to mass media, TASS reported on Thursday.
Dobrynin told the upper house that the measure “could be applied when an official refuses to provide information requested by journalists more than once.” He added that these officials would be put on suspension by court decision.
The upper house member believes that “this would help officials fight their wariness of the media and learn to interact with journalists, as they often refuse to provide information not for fear of disclosing secrets but just to be on the safe side.”
Dobrynin said that the State Duma was discussing a similar bill that would increase fines for denying information to the media. He said that this measure is futile, which is why he has proposed suspension.
Vitaly Ignatenko, first deputy chairman of the Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, pointed out that “the fine for denying information to the media is only 3,000 rubles ($45).”
Officials can pay these fines every day to keep the media away, thus ignoring the opinion of the media and hence society,” Ignatenko said.
He believes that the proposed suspension would force officials to listen to the opinion of society conveyed by the media.
Ignatenko also expressed confidence that a bill to this effect would be submitted to the State Duma during the spring session.