State Duma lawmakers want to limit foreign ownership of Russian Internet news aggregators
Russian lawmakers have introduced their latest draconian law on the Internet, proposing a ban on all online news-aggregation services with more than 20-percent foreign ownership. The legislation was drafted by members of LDPR, including Andrey Lugovoy, the Russian lawmaker wanted in Great Britain for his alleged role in the murder of Alexander Litvinenko. After the draft bill was announced, shares in the Russian Internet company Yandex dropped four percent on the Moscow State Exchange.
A 20-percent ceiling on foreign ownership is already enforced against registered mass media outlets in Russia. According to current media regulations, the state identifies news aggregators as any websites that index and redistribute news publications in Russian (or any of the Russian Federation’s other national languages), earn money on advertising in Russia, and have daily audiences greater than 1 million visitors.
Currently, the biggest news aggregator in Russia is Yandex News. “If such a law is adopted, the company’s board of directors will review potential options to restructure the news service in accordance with the new legal requirements,” Yandex’s spokesman told reporters on Monday.