Russia may limit foreign ownership of national media outlets to 20%
MOSCOW, September 17 (RAPSI) – The State Duma has proposed limiting foreign shareholding in Russian media outlets, including the print media, to 20%, Izvestia newspaper writes on Wednesday.
Under current legislation, foreigners can own up to 50% of a TV channel or radio station, but there is no limit on foreign shareholding in the print media. A case in point is one of the leading Russian business publications, Vedomosti newspaper, which is co-owned by The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal and European media holding Sanoma.
The amendments are aimed at strengthening Russia’s security and are not an attempt to pressure the media.
Izvestia writes that the restrictions would be effective on January 1, 2016. The companies would then have a year to adjust their corporate structure to comply with the amended law. After that, communications regulator Roskomnadzor would be responsible for filing lawsuits in court to suspend the operating licenses of violators.
Various ideas aimed at weakening Russia’s dependence on the West were proposed after the US and EU sanctions revealed this dependence in a number of sectors. Russia decided to create a national card payment system after Visa and MasterCard suspended the servicing of two Russian banks and a national rating agency after international rating agencies downgraded Russia’s sovereign credit rating. When the West approved sectoral sanctions affecting defense and high-tech industries, Russia decided that these commodities could be produced at domestic enterprises. And lastly, it slammed a ban on foreign foods and is working to encourage increased production by the Russian agriculture industry.