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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Media Rules Struck From Terrorism Bill

An anti-terrorism bill has been stripped of regulations that would apply to media organizations during terrorist attacks, the head of the State Duma Security Committee said Tuesday.

"It is a very sensitive issue, and we have excluded it from the bill entirely," Vladimir Vasilyev told reporters.

The bill, which the Duma approved in a first reading in December, would have obliged journalists to cover terrorist attacks within guidelines set by the counterterrorism operations headquarters of the Federal Security Service, or FSB. The bill will replace a 1998 anti-terrorism law and was drafted by law enforcement agencies shortly after the Beslan hostage-taking last September.

The initial bill did not make it clear whether all media organizations covering a terrorist attack, including those not reporting from the scene, would need to obtain FSB permission or whether the FSB would have the authority to block media coverage. It also would have prohibited the distribution of violent images in the media and restricted journalists' movements in zones where the FSB carried out counterterrorism operations.

The proposed restrictions prompted an outcry from press freedom activists, and President Vladimir Putin in February ordered the media clauses removed from the bill, saying they violated the law on media.