The communications Ministry has estimated the damage from the bill, news aggregators equated to mass media. If the bill is passed in its current form, the audience for online media may be reduced by at least a quarter, reads a negative review of the Ministry of communications on the bill signed by the Deputy Minister Alexei Volin ( have read).
The review was sent to the state Duma on 15 March, said Wolin. According to him, this is a formality: the Ministry of communications has criticized the bill immediately after its introduction, however, the deputies sent the text to the relevant departments to obtain official feedback.
Amendments to the law “On information, information technologies and about protection of information” were submitted to the state Duma on 25 February, MPs from the Committee on media Alexei Kazakov (a just Russia) and Alexander Yushchenko (CPRF). The authors of the bill wanted to require the aggregators to verify the information disseminated, to ensure that among the materials the media did not appear extremist materials, and on request of Roskomnadzor to provide access to information, also in the bill proposed a ban on foreigners owning more than 20% of the aggregators. For offenders were provided for fines up to several million rubles.
The bill in its current form “can result in significant restriction of activity and even closure of the Russian service of search and news aggregation,” writes Volin. A significant portion of traffic online media accounts for news aggregators, respectively, restriction or closure of such services will lead to falling audience and revenue online media. In his opinion, the requirements of MPs are redundant, as news aggregators work with the information previously published in the media. This information, in turn, is regulated by the law on mass media. In addition, news aggregators can not verify the accuracy of the information, as they have no edition. Requirements validation the many news aggregators is technically impossible, concludes the Deputy Minister.
“Such requirements are essentially similar requirements to the owners of the kiosks to check contents selling Newspapers and magazines — and mobile operators — to ensure that their subscribers when talking on mobile phones did not use profanity”, — stated in the review. In addition, the need for control over execution of the bill will increase the load on Roskomnadzor (he, according to the plan of deputies, should maintain a register of aggregators by analogy with the register of mass-media) and additional expenses from the budget.
“We believe that in the face of economic difficulties it is necessary to focus the efforts of legislators on proposals that reduce the number of control functions, and enabling activities with real producers, — stated in the review of the Ministry of communications. In this regard, we believe that such legislative initiatives must pass the preliminary examination with the involvement of representatives of the industry.”
The Chairman of the Duma Committee on mass media, Leonid Levin, said earlier that the idea of regulation of such means of mass distribution of information “commendable”. Adviser to the President on the Internet of Herman Klimenko questioned the need for such a bill, and in the Kremlin said that the idea should work.
The bill was criticized by many industry participants. The company Yandex, which owns Russia’s largest aggregator “Yandex.News” stated that the requirements of the project is not feasible and would lead to the closure of the news service. Daily news service the company indexes more than 100 thousand news reports from almost 7 thousand sources. Its average monthly audience in January 2016 amounted to 23.3 million people.
The Russian edition is really heavily dependent on traffic from news aggregators. Thus, according to LiveInternet, the website ria.ru received from “Yandex.News” in February 2016 33.6% of visitors, lenta.ru — 13,5%, kommersant.ru — 36%, rbc.ru by 18.7%.