Russia's Constitutional Court says that Internet website owners and administrators must remove defamatory information from their sites if ordered to do so by a court.
In a ruling handed down on July 9, the St. Petersburg-based court ruled that administrators bear responsibility for removing material deemed offensive to private citizens, even when the content is posted by a third party.
The ruling also broadens the types of sites covered under the new law to include not only traditional mass media but all websites.
The decision is the highest court ruling on a 2009 complaint by a man who said he suffered personal insults after another individual posted his photographs on an Internet forum and added unpleasant captions.
The ruling comes as the Russian government is seen as making greater attempts to muzzle freedom of expression.
Based on reporting by Rapsinews.com and ITAR-TASS