Not Smishno: foreign publications and TV channels in Russia will be «registered as foreign agents»

© Depositphotos / managerlist at workNot Smishno: foreign publications and TV channels in Russia will be «registered as foreign agents»© Depositphotos / macor

Wednesday, November 15, the state Duma adopted in the second and third readings of an important amendment to the law «On information, information technologies and protection of information». There is a new wording — «foreign media». During the week the law will be submitted to the Federation Council and then signed by the President. Thus, the amendment may enter into force in November. What is the essence of innovation is revealed to RIA Novosti.

What’s new in the law

If the law is passed, foreign organization, disseminates information on the territory of Russia and financed from abroad, may be recognized by the media, acting as a foreign agent. It will apply the norms of the Federal law on noncommercial organizations (NGO) — foreign agents, said the Chairman of the Committee on information policy, information technologies and communications Leonid Levin.

The definition of «foreign media» — new for Russian legislation, as provided for in the amendment regulations on these media in our country. A concrete decision on granting the status of infoagent will be taken by the Ministry of justice. The Agency will also determine how it will look like marking the media with a similar status and whether a separate register of such publications.
Who touches the amendment

What the newspaper, radio or TV stations will fall under the new wording, the bill is not specified. Previously, as a candidate registered as a foreign agent called «Radio Liberty», «Voice of America», CNN and DW (Deutsche Welle — «German wave». — Approx. ed.). However, theoretically they can be all available on the territory of Russia the foreign TV channels included in the packages of digital cable and satellite television, such as the French France 24 and TV5 Monde, Al Jazeera Qatar, the British BBC News, Chinese CCTV, and others. The number of foreign mass media in Russian Internet is innumerable.

Breach or default of these requirements threatens the guilty to administrative or criminal responsibility.

A necessary step

As noted by Levin amendment was a necessary measure in response to the restrictions initiated by the US government against the Russian RT and Sputnik. However, the MP explained that changes in legislation will not affect the work of foreign journalists and «framework amendments do not imply a change of attitude towards freedom of expression and interaction with foreign media on the territory of Russia».

© RIA Novosti / Ilya Petliurite in photomontages of the TV channel RT in MoscowNot Smishno: foreign publications and TV channels in Russia will be «registered as foreign agents»© RIA Novosti / Ilya Petliurite in photomontages of the TV channel RT in Moscow


«The amendment will not be used to limit freedom of expression and obstructing the work of journalists in Russia. Bill is an exceptional measure caused by the use of the American party of its law on foreign agents in order to deal with the media, to compete for the largest channels in the U.S. market,» said Levin. And stressed: «We would like to see as little as possible media in the future could be in this list».

In early November, the U.S. justice Department ordered the RT register as a foreign agent in the U.S. until November 13. The channel complied with the November 10. Chief editor of «Russia today» and RT Margarita Simonyan said that it is a necessary measure, as RT had to choose between registration as inherent and criminal case. She called the requirement of the Ministry of justice to be discriminatory, adding that the company will defend its position in court. Moscow promised to prepare a response.

On the same day the speaker of the state Duma Vyacheslav Volodin has instructed the profile committees of the lower house of Parliament to develop a symmetrical legislative response to the actions of the us authorities.