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The bill passed the first of three Duma readings on Tuesday. Second reading will be on Friday.
Committee members supported an amendment allowing media outlets created under international agreements to be excluded from the new law, Leonid Levin, the committee’s first deputy chief and one of the amendment’s authors, told ITAR-TASS.Levin said the amendment would exempt from the law media outlets created under international agreements such as the Mir (World) interstate radio and television broadcaster jointly sponsored by Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Armenia and Moldova, and the television company of the Union State of Russia and Belarus.
Proposed legislation, introduced by deputies from Russia's Communist Party, Just Russia and the Liberal Democratic Party, would lower foreign ownership of media in the country from the existing 50% ceiling to 20%. Restrictions will apply equally to Russians who have dual citizenship and non-citizen residents.
If the bill passes the remaining readings and is signed into force by President Vladimir Putin, the new rules will take effect on January 1, 2016, giving media owners until February 1, 2017 to adjust their ownership structure.