Russian Federation

[RU] New Aggregators restricted in picking news

IRIS 2016-8:1/32

Andrei Richter

Comenius University (Bratislava)

The State Duma (parliament) of the Russian Federation adopted on 10 June 2016 amendments to the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information (see IRIS 2014-3/40, 2014-6/31) and the Administrative Code. These amendments require owners of Internet search engines (“news aggregators”) with more than one million daily users to be accountable for the faithfulness of content “essential for the public”, except when such content represents a verbatim reproduction of materials published by media outlets registered in Russia. Such materials, if distributed by aggregators in Russian, other languages of the peoples of the Russian Federation, or even in foreign languages - if the website is used to disseminate advertising targeting Russian clients, are subject to restrictions earlier imposed in the Russian mass media law, such as a ban on extremism, propaganda or pornography, cult of violence, use of curse words, defamation, etc.

The news aggregators shall store all news information, including its source and duration of dissemination, for 6 months. They should enable Roskomnadzor, a governmental watchdog for media and communications, to access the data stored. In turn Roskomnadzor shall compile an official register of such aggregators and control observance of the new provisions.

According to the amendments, Russian-language Internet search engines, search engines in other languages of the Russian Federation, and those potentially advertising their products and services for Russian audiences, shall only be owned by Russian companies or citizens (Article 1 of the Statute).

Violation of the statute carries high administrative penalties (Article 2 of the Statute). It enters into force 1 January 2017.

Dunja Mijatović, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, noted in her statement on the bill that the amendments are worded vaguely, which could increase the already high number of interventions by state authorities in the activities of online service providers.


  • О внесении изменений в Федеральный закон "Об информации, информационных технологиях и о защите информации" и Кодекс Российской Федерации об административных правонарушениях

  • Press release of the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media “Law regulating news aggregators in Russia might negatively affect freedom of information on Internet, OSCE Representative says,” 13 June 2016

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This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory.