To print this article, all you need is to be registered or login on Mondaq.com.
May 2022 – Since the war in Ukraine
became the main subject of newspaper headlines, the amount of
related misinformation spread online has reached new heights. As a
result, several governments have adopted legislation that provides
tools to combat the spread of misinformation. Below is an
overview of legislation used to combat misinformation in the
Central and Eastern Europe and Central Asia regions.
- It is worth noting that on 1 March 2022 the Bulgarian
electronic media watchdog decided to suspend the distribution of TV
channels "Russia Today" and "Sputnik" in line
with the EU response to Russian military activity in Ukraine.
- On 27 February 2022 the Croatian National Cyber Security
Authority ( "CERT") warned of potential
misinformation and hoax campaigns and urged citizens and companies
to be careful.
- It warned that the most common form of deceit is a link
implying some exclusive news on the on-going war, but clicking on
it causes the installation of malware.
- In the Czech Republic, the most notable action taken to tackle
misinformation regarding the conflict in Ukraine was the ban of
eight websites registered in the Czech Republic by CZ.NIC—the
".cz" domain administrator. This action was followed by a
ban by mobile operators of six other websites in the Czech language
that are registered abroad. As a result of the ban, the banned
websites have become inaccessible. According to publicly available
information, these actions were taken upon the government's
recommendation that all responsible institutions should prevent the
dissemination of information serving to justify or endorse the
current Russian military aggression against Ukraine. According to
CZ.NIC, a consultation with Military Intelligence took place,
during which Military Intelligence provided a list of websites that
had been found to spread misinformation about the conflict to such
an extent that they represented a threat to the national
- The ban has raised numerous controversies. In the political
field, the opposition criticised it as unacceptable censorship. In
the legal field, there are concerns that such an action has no
support in the applicable law; while freedom of speech is enshrined
in the Constitution, there is no special legislation for its
restraint with respect to the spreading of misinformation.
- The lack of legal basis also means that the ban was made
without any formal administrative act being issued. As a result,
operators of the banned websites are prevented from appealing
against the ban before administrative courts, and the only
available remedy is a civil lawsuit. Furthermore, the ban has been
criticized by the professional public for being in breach of the
doctrine set by the European Court of Human Rights, under which a
ban of an entire website represents an extreme measure, and the
banning of the particular harmful article(s) should be preferred
instead. According to some government's representatives, a
draft of new legislation that could fill in the apparent gap in the
system is underway.
- Hungary's state-owned television network's news service
launched a website on 1 March 2022 called "Fake news
- The website has a layout similar to a blog, where news items
are gathered from the news items published by the news service
based on subject matter.
- Regarding legislation, there has been no recent legislative
initiatives regarding tackling misinformation.
- On 24 February 2022, the Ministry of National Defence flagged
as fake news messages regarding mandatory military service in the
context of the Ukraine conflict and reminded Romanian citizens that
mandatory military service was abolished by Law 395 of 16 December
2005 and can only be reintroduced in case of (i) a state of war,
(ii) state of mobilisation or (iii) alert status.
- On 11 March 2022, an online newspaper posted that a working
group was created at the government level with the purpose of
creating an IT platform that will scan the online press, but also
blogs and social networks, to find "fake news", sources
of misinformation and propaganda in the context of the conflict in
Ukraine. The project has not yet been confirmed by the government,
but according to reports, government representatives have stated
that the project was initiated by civil society and that the
government has not requested any specific deadline for the start of
monitoring ( Source).
- Slovakia has introduced new legislation that addresses certain
issues relating to the war in Ukraine, including the problem of
spreading misinformation on the internet. The new legislation
authorises the Slovak NSA to partially or fully block websites that
spread misinformation. The Slovak NSA may block websites on its own
initiative or upon the request of third parties, if the website
contains misinformation that can cause the loss of confidentiality
of data, compromise information security, restrict the operation of
critical infrastructure, etc.
- The Law on the Regulation of Broadcasts via Internet and
Prevention of Crimes Committed through Such Broadcasts regulates
publications created in cyberspace. Accordingly, if content in
cyberspace involves an attack against the personal rights of a
specific person, this person may request to have the content
removed from the publication or to block access. However, no
specific regulation has been stipulated regarding misinformation in
- Ukraine's parliament introduced amendments to the Criminal
Code of Ukraine related to the spreading of misinformation, which
came into force on 16 March 2022. The justification, denial or
recognition as lawful of Russian armed aggression against Ukraine,
its occupation of Ukrainian territory, the glorification of
occupiers, as well as the production and distribution of related
materials are recognised as criminal offences in Ukraine. Such
actions, depending on their severity, may be punishable with
imprisonment for up to eight years.
- The National Center for Operational and Technical Management of
Telecommunication Networks, which manages electronic communication
networks during martial law in Ukraine, has issued approximately 10
orders to electronic communication services and network providers
to block hundreds of websites and autonomous systems (AS) used for
spreading misinformation, fakes and retransmission of Russian TV
channels that are banned in Ukraine.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
POPULAR ARTICLES ON: Technology from European Union