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Press Freedom in Russia:Does the Constitution Matter?

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Chapter Summary

This chapter examines judicial doctrine and practice in areas affecting press freedoms. It speculates as to future developments in this area. Currently, judicial doctrine and practice on the matter of recognition reflect a mix of two tendencies: what the author calls "abstention" and "engagement". The judiciary's role in the evolution of press freedoms in Russia since the mid-1980s-both the expansion and contraction of such freedoms-has been minimal. Globally, the most visible actions affecting press freedoms have been the disputes over ownership of the broadcasting networks NTV and TV-6.31. Recent developments within the courts of general jurisdiction and the Constitutional Court suggest that the judiciary is on the verge of pursuing a more active approach to recognition of Article 29's applicability and definition of its parameters. The clearest sign of this tendency came with the Supreme Court's adoption, in February 2005, of a new Explanation on the subject of defamation law.

Keywords: constitutional court; defamation law; judicial doctrine; press freedom; Russia



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