Parliament toughens penalties for defamation in social networks

Azerbaijani Parliament today approved amendments to the Criminal Code, submitted  as a legislative initiative to the country's prosecutor general. According to the innovation, the new Criminal Code is supplemented by Article 148-1 providing for criminal liability for offenses in the Internet using fake names and profiles. From now on, these actions will be punished by a fine of 1,000 to 1,500 manat, or community service of 360 hours to 380 hours, or correctional labor for up to 2 years, or imprisonment up to one year.

In addition,  amendments have been made to the Article 323 of the Criminal Code (protection of honor and dignity of the president). New Article - 323.1-1 provides criminal penalties for insulting the honor and dignity of the president using fake profiles, accounts and nicknames. For these actions will be applied a fine of 1,000 to 1,500 manat, or imprisonment of up to 3 years.

The amendments have been criticized by the representatives of the democratic community and international organizations. Opponents pointed out that while the government previously pledged to decriminalize defamation in general, now is expanding the scope of the legislation.

Despite these calls, the Parliament adopted it. -16D06-

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