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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Security Doctrine Approved

The Security Council has approved a new information security doctrine, which one of its authors says would prevent the news media from becoming a threat to national security.

Vladimir Sherstyuk, the Security Council's first deputy secretary and the man behind the 40-page document f which has yet to be signed by President Vladimir Putin or officially published f said news media may become a public enemy by publishing "untrue or biased information."

"They [mass media] may violate the right of citizens for true and objective information. And if your newspaper published doubtful information, it would pose a threat to national security," Sherstyuk said in remarks reported by Kommersant newspaper on Saturday.

In an interview Friday with Itar-Tass, Sherstyuk said the doctrine calls for "limitations" on media rights to collect information about citizens' private lives.

Putin addressed the Security Council on Friday, the day it endorsed the doctrine, and stressed his commitment to a free press, saying, "A democratic society cannot exist without media freedom."

However, he called on the government to protect sensitive information. "It's bad when everything is closed, but we mustn't fall into the other extreme," he said in remarks reported by Reuters.

Sherstyuk said the document, which he said is aimed at protecting national security, developing information technologies and providing for constitutional rights, will not impose censorship or violate the freedom of the press.

But Oleg Panfilov, a human rights advocate and director of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, said the doctrine may impose severe limitations on the freedom of press and thus violate Article 29 of the Constitution, which provides for the freedom of press.

"The authorities are now trying to limit freedom of speech. They are concerned about information from Chechnya, which comes from ... foreign journalists, about unfair elections, falsifications of election results. We must wait until this document is published, but I am afraid that it may contain some severe violations of freedom of the press," Panfilov said Monday.