New rules are the first in 20 years

New rules guaranteeing media freedom to be introduced in Russia on Thursday will help boost post-economic crisis recovery for content-on-demand and nontraditional platforms in a pay TV market worth more than $1 billion per year.

They do away with restrictive rules on registration for Internet and other-new media platforms that provide TV services, abolish licenses for secondary relay broadcast services and tightly define the rights and duties of TV license holders.

“The new rules are more transparent, dynamic, flexible and progressive,” Dmitry Golovanov, a broadcasting lawyer and expert for the European Audiovisual Observatory told Variety on Tuesday.

Broadcasters have the right to use any media to deliver their content — terrestrial, cable, satellite, Internet — without additional licenses or registration. The rules specify that only editorial boards are responsible for broadcast content.

Based on reforms drawn up last year by Russia’s supreme court in the first amendments to the post-Soviet media laws introduced 20 years ago, the changes will make doing business for new-media and pay TV operators much simpler and less expensive, Golovanov said.

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