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150 channels in Russia could close

July 11, 2014

By Chris Forrester

Russia has gone ahead and its Federation Council has approved a highly-controversial law that bans advertising on most cable and satellite channels.

BBC Monitoring is reporting July 10th that President Putin has side-stepped normal processes and already signed the Bill into law.

The law, which comes into force on January 1st 2015, bans commercials on all channels available exclusively on a paid basis or those that can only be viewed on a decoding device. This applies mostly to encrypted ‘pay-TV’ channels and which depend on a mix of subscription income as well as advertising to stay on air.

In an open letter sent on June 30th to President Vladimir Putin, Prime Minister Dmitriy Medvedev, head of the Kremlin administration Sergey Ivanov, State Duma Speaker Sergey Naryshkin and other officials, several pay TV executives wrote that the law might force up to 150 thematic channels to shut down.

On July 7th OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Dunja Mijatovic appealed to Putin to veto the law. According to Mijatovic, the law “could further limit media pluralism and free flow of information in Russia”.

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