Russia enacts new Media Bill

Russian President Dmitriy Medvedev has signed into federal law new rules covering all aspects of “the mass media,” says the Kremlin press service. Russia’s State Duma (parliament) passed the law on 3 June 2011. The Federation Council approved it on 8 June 2011. Medvedev signed the new bill on June 14.

In essence, the new law envisages the introduction of universal TV broadcasting licences and reinforces the procedure for the licensing of TV broadcasting. The document – On the introduction of changes in individual legislative acts of the Russian Federation in connection with the improvement of legal regulation in the sphere of mass media, TV broadcasting and radio broadcasting – was submitted to the State Duma by former deputy Valeriy Komissarov.

Under the document, a universal licence allows the dissemination of a TV channel or a radio channel in any media, including terrestrial, on-air, cable and satellite broadcasting. A licence will be issued for a period of 10 years.

“Universal licences will make it possible to broadcast in several formats simultaneously,” suggesting that broadcasters can embrace web-based transmissions, as well as cable, DTH and cable feeds. Changes have affected, among other things, Internet sites. The rules say that an Internet site can be registered as a media outlet, and then it will be covered by the law on mass media. “The sites that do not apply for registration will not be recognised as media outlets,” said a spokesman.

The law will come into effect on 10 November 2011, with the exception of certain provisions.

Existing broadcasting licences issued before the changes come into effect will remain in force until they expire.

 

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