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Ministry of Communications will put a barrier in front of foreign media

The correction data proposed by the ministry will give Roskomnadzor the right to refuse a permit for a foreign printed edition.

The Ministry of Communications has prepared a correction data to the law "On mass media", which are designed to address gaps in the regulation of distribution of foreign print media in Russia.

Today the distribution of foreign newspapers and magazines in Russia is regulateda by Art. 54 of the law "On mass media". If the periodical is not registered in the Russian Federation, and its founders and the editors are outside of Russia or the publication is funded by foreign governments, legal entities or individual citizens, such media must obtain a permission of Roskomnadzor for distribution in Russia. In this case, the law does not indicate the reasons for refusal to issue such a permit or for its revocation.

The Ministry of Communications has (a copy of the bill is in "Izvestia") specified the reasons for Roscomnadzor to refuse foreign printed edition of a permit in the law "On Mass Media". This can happen if the documentation contains untrue or distorted information, or if Russian media already exists with that name and form of distribution. And if the publication does not meet the requirements of Art. 4 of the Law "On Mass Media" ("Prohibition of abuse of freedom of mass information"), or the law "On Countering Extremist Activity". They can also repeal the "pass" on the Russian market due to the editions inconsistencies to both these laws.

According to the Roskomnadzors registers, 180 foreign print media are officially distributed in Russia. As it was explained in the office, now to withdraw the permition Roscomnadzor shall issue an order to abolish it, and then confirm their credentials and correctness of the decision in court.

That's how the office had to act in 2010, when it revoked permission to distribute in Russia "Jehovah's Witnesses" - "Awake" and "Watchtower"  periodicals.

- These publications contained extremist materials. The Arbitration Court of the Moscow District legitimacy fully confirmed our orders on their ban  -  said Roskomnadzor’s spokesman Vladimir  Peakov.

"Jehovah's Witnesses" called a miscarriage of justice that the "world-renowned educational magazine" was banned in Russia, and filed a complaint with the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). Also complained about the inclusion of some of the materials of these publications in the Federal List of Extremist Materials of Ministry of Justice. Both applications are now considered by the ECHR.

- We do not kindle strife or discord, we call for tolerance and learn to respect other people. Of extremism in our articles were accepted words that some doctrines or interpretation of the Bible can be wrong, but some - right - said the "Jehovah's Witnesses" spokesman, Grigory Martynov.

In the Ministry of Communications they told "Izvestia", that foreign experience in the distribution of printed medias in countries around the world was not studied by the agency for correction data.

- It makes no sense to use it in Russian realities, - said deputy minister Alexei Volin. - We're not going to close the foreign media, but the procedure should be prescribed.

Publisher and chief editor of the "Beautiful Life", the magazine published in Estonia Rodion Denisov told our newspaper that Estonia does not need to register the media, as well as to obtain permission to distribute them.

— The Penal Code of Estonia has articles about extremism and inciting hatred. The specific culprit is always possible to convict. Press Council may publicly condemn a particular publication or website (without legal obligation). In this case, the publication will publish a retraction or apology, - says Denisov.

MPs supported the desire of the Ministry of Communications to make adjustments to the law "On mass media".

- The idea of agency is in the trend of time, as affected by the law "On NGOs". Freedom of speech - it's good, but the foreign media, who are in the position of guest in Russia should carry equal footing with Russian publishers responsible for the content of their materials - said the "News" Vadim Dengin – deputy to State Duma’s.

The correction data prepared by the Ministry of Communications and Roscomnadzor have already passed the public discussion.