Regulatory structures

IRIS Special 2010 - The Regulatory Framework for Audiovisual Media Services in Russia

Author: Susanne NIKOLTCHEV (Ed.), European Audiovisual Observatory

Published: 17/02/2010

What we did not do so far is to inform about the legal framework for audiovisual media services outside the scope of EU legislation. The wider Europe as covered by the Council of Europe and thus the Observatory goes far beyond the geographic reach of the Directive. To have its media industry unfold, more and different information is needed. One huge territory, home to around 17 percent of the European citizens and thus a significant amount of (potential) recipients of audiovisual media services, is Russia. Yet despite the economic potential of this sizable market, it seems that at least outside of Russia little has been published on the legal conditions that the audiovisual industry must meet.

Thanks to our long-standing partnership with the Media Law and Policy Institute in Moscow, we can help fill this gap with this publication. Andrei Richter, the author of this IRIS Special on “The Regulatory Framework for Audiovisual Media Services in Russia” gives us an overview of general aspects such as national media policy, key notions of regulation and their interpretation, licensing requirements, the role of state versus public service broadcasting, media ownership and concentration as well as foreign property rules. This IRIS Special also explains the legal framework for specific questions such as the right to reply, product placement, the right to short reporting, the safeguard of public morals, the protection of minors, rights of national minorities and restrictions to counter extremism. Last but not least it explains the regulatory means used within this legal framework, which includes charters and codes as well as regulation by the national regulatory authority, especially in the field of advertisement.

The structure of this IRIS Special follows closely and deliberately the questions treated in the IRIS Special on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. This facilitates the comparison of the underlying legal systems as well as the legal rules applied to the various areas. If this publication focuses mostly on broadcasting it is because in Russia other audiovisual media services, and corresponding their regulation, are still in their infancy. This IRIS Special is very telling in this regard as it describes in some detail the difficulties to adapt the existing framework to on-demand service that are still not as developed as in other European countries.

We would have also liked to report in this context on the adoption of the Protocol for the Council of Europe Convention on Transfrontier Television that would have had the potential to cover the whole of Europe and include even non-European countries. Russia has already signed (though not yet ratified) the current version of the Convention and it was hoped that it would adhere to the Protocol. However, events took a different turn and whether and indeed if ever the Convention will be aligned to the Directive or could apply in Russia will truly require the aforementioned crystal ball.