Medvedev Sinks Media Libel Law

President Dmitry Medvedev has in effect sunk proposed changes to the law that would have given courts the power to close media outlets suspected of libel.

Medvedev on Monday made a critical note on the new amendments to the media bill, which passed in the first of three readings on April 25, and sent them to State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov. The move in effect sinks the bill.

"It would be logical to remove this draft from further discussion," Medvedev said in his note, published by national news agencies. "It is obvious that the ... bill could lead only to the creation of hindrances to the normal functioning of the media and does not accomplish the declared aims -- to defend citizens from the distribution of material that is libelous."

United Russia Deputy Robert Shlegel had put forward the amendments, which gained support after a Moscow newspaper reported that Putin was divorcing his wife and planned to marry former Olympic gymnast Alina Kabayeva, 24. Putin denied the report.