The large digital corporations are poised to face yet another conflict with Russia, as the Russian government has demanded that Netflix and other streaming providers integrate local state television channels on their platforms. According to The Moscow Times (via Engadget), Russia’s communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, recently declared that foreign streaming services will be required to offer 20 Russian federal television channels to their consumers. The legislation was drafted in late 2020 and is set to go into force in March 2022.
The flagship “Channel One,” the entertainment station “NTC,” and the Orthodox Church channel “Spas” are among the 20 Russian state channels that must be added to streaming platforms.
Roskomnadzor is the Russian federal executive agency in charge of media monitoring, control, and censorship. Electronic media, mass communications, information technology, and telecommunications are among its responsibilities, as are ensuring legal compliance, maintaining the confidentiality of personal data handled, and organising the work of the radio-frequency service.
The country also wants streaming content to adhere to Russian legislation, which means that corporations might be barred from supplying movies and shows that promote “extremism” or even content that is LGBTQIA+.
The law, according to the authority, applies to all online streaming services with 100,000 daily subscribers or more, which includes Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. Because Apple doesn’t disclose how many customers or daily watchers it has, it’s unclear whether Apple TV+ will be required to comply with the new Russian legislation.
This isn’t the first time the Russian government has attempted to limit international corporations’ operations in the country. Roskomnadzor ordered big digital giants like Apple, Facebook, and Google to create local offices in Russia by November 2021 if they didn’t want to be banned.
Russia has also filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and the App Store, requesting that the firm allow developers to accept third-party payments. None of the major IT firms have officially stated how or if they would comply with Russia’s new legislation.
Streaming of 20 main Russian federal television stations is also necessary for registered providers. Netflix will be required to provide broadcasts from state-owned Channel One, entertainment-focused NTV, and the Russian Orthodox Church’s in-house channel Spas, which means “Saved,” to its Russian viewers starting in March 2022.
Russia has recently been intent on putting the brakes on internet behemoths operating within its borders. Russia used these rules against Apple and Google in September, pressuring them to remove the anti-Kremlin opposition’s ‘Smart Voting’ software from the App Store and Google Play Store, respectively. Last Monday, Russian authorities fined Alphabet’s Google $98 million USD and Meta, previously Facebook, $27.15 million USD for failing to remove content that was deemed unlawful in the nation.