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Checks of Russian mass media as to participation of foreigners to start from mid-February

November 10, 2015, 14:58 UTC+3 MOSCOW
The law prohibits citizens of foreign states and people with dual citizenship to act as founders of mass media bodies in Russia
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© ITAR-TASS/Mitya Aleshkovskiy

MOSCOW, November 10. /TASS/. Russia’s mass media watchdog (Roscomnadzor) plans to launch from mid-February 2016 checks of the country’s mass media as to the observance of the law concerning participation of foreigners in their assets, Roscomnadzor chief Alexander Zharov said on Tuesday.

"Under the law, companies are to notify us by February 1 about their fulfilment of their liabilities under the law. From February 15, we have grounds to check those companies that have provided no information to us," he said at a conference on personal data protection.

A law limiting participation of foreigners in the Russian mass media was passed by the Russian State Duma lower parliament house in September 2014. The law prohibits citizens of foreign states and people with dual citizenship to act as founders of mass media bodies in Russia. The share of foreign stockholders in the authorized capital of the Russian mass media cannot exceed 20%.

The new rules will come into force from January 1, 2016. Mass media owners have time till February 1, 2017 to adjust the structure of their companies to conform to the law. Information on the owners and founders is to be submitted to Roscomnadzor by February 15, 2017. In case of violations, Roscomnadzor is eligible to seek court ruling on a mass media outlet suspension.

According to Zharov, if a company does not inform Rocomnadzor about its fulfilment of the law, it in no way means the company ignores it but this fact is to be checked.

"We have about 1,000 various mass media outlets covered by this law. Several dozens have already notified us about their compliance with the law. Big companies, such as Discovery, have had consultations with us to inform about the models they are prepared to use," he said.

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