The Russian Health Ministry is preparing legislative amendments that would ban web resources issuing public calls against preventive vaccination.
The Health Ministry is drafting amendments to the Federal Law on the Preventive Immunization Against Infectious Diseases, to Article 15.3 of the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection, and to Article 4 of the Federal Law on the Mass Media. The goal of this initiative is to introduce a ban on the dissemination of information containing public calls to reject vaccination, First Deputy Health Minister Tatyana Yakovleva said in a letter responding to State Duma Deputy Leonid Ogul’s inquiry.
Article 15.3 of the Federal Law on Information regulates measures limiting citizens’ access to web resources disseminating potentially dangerous information, and Article 4 of the Federal Law on the Mass Media says that abuses of mass media freedom are impermissible.
The amendments proposed would necessitate changes in the Code of Administrative Offences and introduce liability for disseminating through the media and through information-telecommunication networks of information containing calls to refuse vaccination.
The federal health and consumer rights oversight service, Rospotrebnadzor, has backed the Health Ministry’s plan to block websites issuing calls to reject vaccination.
Instead, Children’s Rights Commissioner Anna Kuznetsova has proposed tagging quality medical information web resources instead of blocking anti-vaccine ones.
“I have had extensive discussions with medical professionals and I propose tagging quality web resources recognized by the medical community, that would guide the reader as to which websites have been checked by healthcare professionals and can be trusted. The doctors’ contact information must be provided should queries arise. This would serve as a seal of quality,”
Kuznetsova told Interfax.
“Any person, any parent can be interested in whatever they choose, but we should look for methods that would navigate people along, she said. This way one will manage to tell websites with a potentially harmful unscientific content from the ones trusted by the medical community,”