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MOSCOW, October 15. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a legal act setting 20% restriction on the share of foreign stakeholders in Russian mass media and a ban on foreigners’ role of co-founders of Russian mass media.
The high-profile law, approved by the upper house of parliament on October 1, was published on the official legal information portal on Wednesday.
The idea of such amendments to the Russian law on mass media was proposed by State Duma members Vadim Dengin (of the Liberal Democrat Party), Vladimir Parakhin (of United Russia) and Denis Voronenkov (of the Communist Party). Previous legislation set no restrictions on foreign persons’ or entities’ participation in print or online periodicals. A 50% cap was applicable only to stakes in television and radio broadcasters.
The new rules will take effect as of January 1, 2016. Media owners will have enough time until February 1, 2017 to bring the entire corporate chain in conformity with the law. The new documents on the owners and founders shall be submitted to the Russian mass media watchdog Roskomnadzor no later than February 15, 2017. In case of violations the agency is obliged to ask a court of law to suspend the mass medium’s operation.
The law specifically stipulates that the restrictions on foreign presence in the mass media are effective unless an international treaty to which Russia is a party provides otherwise. The inter-state television and radio broadcaster MIR and the television and radio company of the union state of Russia and Belarus are examples of such exemptions.