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Lawmaker seeks to submit tougher version of bill on mass media - "foreign agents"

January 21, 2014, 19:57 UTC+3 MOSCOW
MP: the bill should be tougher after the events in Ukraine, when the mass media's role was very considerable as it delivered a crushing blow to Ukraine's statehood and Ukrainian citizens
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© EPA/SERGEY DOLZHENKO

 

MOSCOW, January 21. /ITAR-TASS/. A lawmaker said he is withdrawing the bill on the mass media - "foreign agents" from the State Duma lower house of Russia's parliament in order to re-submit its tougher version.

"We've withdrawn it for two reasons," United Russia member Yevgeny Fyodorov told Itar-Tass on Tuesday. "Firstly, we believe that the bill should have a tougher notion of "foreign agent" after the events in Ukraine, when the mass media's role was very considerable as it delivered a crushing blow to Ukraine's statehood and Ukrainian citizens."

In his opinion, the legislation was "too soft and liberal." He is concerned that media outlets can easily circumvent such things as 50 percent of /foreign/ funding. The document required tougher wording, the lawmaker said.

Fyodorov believes the house should review the document after the Sochi Olympic Game.

The new legislation was submitted on November 23, 2013. At that time, Fyodorov said it was "a softer version" taking into account government recommendations.

For example, the mass media will only be recognized as foreign agents only if they have more than 50 percent of foreign funding, whereas the previous version did not specify the amount of funding. Also, it only applies to the media which cover politics in Russia. Those that write on science, arts and health care are not liable to the operation of the law.

Deputy head of the United Russia faction Nikolai Bulayev said the amendments did not reflect the faction's position, and a deputy house speaker, Sergei Zheleznyak said there were no reasons for changing legislation as "the issues Fyodorov was raising had been settled." The press service of the United Russia faction then said the parliamentary majority would not support the bill.

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