Media legislation

Media legislation in Russia is based on basic principles of the Constitution (1993) and of the Law on Mass Media (1991). The Constitution guarantees the freedom of ideas and speech for everyone, as well as the right “to freely look for, receive, transmit, produce and distribute information by any legal way.” The propaganda instigating social, racial, national or religious hatred or supremacy is banned. The Law on Mass Media guarantees freedom of expression for media, journalists' rights and citizens' right for information. Recent changes to the Law on Mass Media limit the propagation of extremism, terrorism, violence and pornography in the press.  

Other important laws include Law on Advertising (1995), Law on Communications (2004), Law on Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information (2006), Anti-Piracy Law (2013) and their later amendments in 2015-2017. They set rules for media in particular fields. Media activity is also covered by the Law on Counteracting the Extremist Activity (2002) and Federal Law on Combating the Terrorism (2006). The Presidential Decree on the creation of Public Television channel in Russia (2012/2013) is an important and the only document concerning television in Russia. It stipulates that interests of the public are represented by the Public Television Council (PTC).  

Special rules for media are set up by Law on Protection of Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development (2010/2012) and Amendments to Law on Protection of Children from Information Harmful to Their Health and Development (2013). The law itself prohibits the distribution of “harmful»”material among minors. It has been amended twice by a mandatory content rating system for material distributed through an “information and telecommunication network” (covering television and the Internet) and establishing a blacklist for censoring websites which describe suicide, glorify illegal drugs, or contain child pornography, etc.  

Recent developments include the law on limits on foreign ownership in Russian mass media (2014/2016), setting the maximum foreign stake in Russian mass media companies at 20 percent, set of amendments to the Administrative Code, the Law on Information and the Law on Communications (the ‘Bill on Bloggers’ of2014) requiring bloggers with more than 3,000 unique daily visitors to register with the Roskomnadzor and follow the same regulations as mass media. Amendments to the law on mass media and law on advertising (2016/2017) make it mandatory for those companies that receive a license from Roskomnadzor to engage the audience telemetry channels,, and the new anti-terror laws (Yarovaya law) set obligations for telecom providers and organisers of online information distribution to store on Russian soil recordings of their customers' telephone calls (voice information), text messages, images, sounds, videos, and other messages.