Armenia: Will a Bar on Fake Online Profiles Mean a Bar on Online Dissent?
A proposed amendment to ban the use of fake online profiles may have hit the Armenian parliament on April Fool's Day, but the measure's potential impact on media freedom in Armenia is far from any joke, observers fear.
If passed, the change to Armenia's civil code will restrict Armenians from hiding behind avatars or fake names when posting comments online. The amendment's proposes to make media responsible for anonymous user commentary on their websites and also to restrict information crossovers from anonymous internet sources into mainstream news. Proponents from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia claim that the initiative is meant to fight the spread of slanderous and offensive information by Internet users with fake profiles, which, it alleges, often mask interest groups.
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