Russia will exercise control over Netflix programs from March

Russia’s Internet and Communications Monitoring Agency Roskomnadzor Netflix will require 20 public TV channels to air from March after the streaming platform was added to the audiovisual services registry, according to a report from the Moscow Times.

The registry emerged in late 2020 with the goal of ordering online streaming services with more than 100,000 daily users to broadcast state TV channels, among other requirements. In addition, companies that are registered in the registry must create a Russian subsidiary.

Among the channels that will be broadcast by Netflix, Channel One, the entertainment channel NTV and the Spas channel of the Russian Orthodox Church. In addition to broadcasting these channels, the US-based company must comply with Russian laws that ban “extremist” content, a provision seen as part of the Kremlin’s efforts to crack down on dissent.

The Russian version of Netflix is ‚Äč‚Äčoperated by Entertainment Online Service, a subsidiary of the National Media Group. According to Engadget, National Media Group owns a stake in Channel One.

Outside of Russia, Netflix generally does not offer public channels to subscribers. However, if the company wants to continue operating in the country, it must comply with the new requirements.

The new restrictions are the latest example of Russia’s increasing control over international companies operating within its borders. Earlier in 2021, the state required Google to remove content deemed illegal. Just before the New Year, Russian authorities fined Google $98 million for failing to remove illegal content (via BBC). Last year, Twitter suffered the same fate.

Russia has also required mobile devices to be preloaded with Russian apps to help the country’s software companies gain a foothold on iPhones and top Android phones.

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