The Russian State Duma on Friday adopted a controversial bill on foreign ownership in Russian media in the second and final third reading. The bill reduces foreign participation in the authorized capitals of Russian media outlets to 20%. It also bans foreigners from acting as co-founders of media outlets in Russia.
There is only one exception from the new rule: restrictions on foreign ownership in Russian media should not be imposed if otherwise is stated in Russia’s international treaties. The inter-state radio and television company Mir and the television and radio company of the Union State of Russia and Belarus fall exactly under this exception.
The new rules will take effect as of January 1, 2016. Media owners have time before February 1, 2017 to bring the entire corporate chain in line with the new law. New documents on the owners and founders are to be handed over to the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications or Roskomnadzor not later than February 15, 2017.
Roskomnadzor will be obliged to ask court to suspend a media outlet’s operation if it happens to violate the newly set rules.