Streaming giant Netflix recently declared its refusal to adhere to a pending broadcasting law in Russia, which would require the service to host state television programming.
In a statement released to numerous outlets, a Netflix spokesperson said, “Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service.” The law in question requires services with over 100,000 daily users to carry state programming.
Netflix was recognized as such as service in Russia in December and added to Russia’s “audiovisual services” sector, overseen by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor). The agency is responsible for monitoring mass media, censorship and communications, among other things. Netflix, which is currently the only international service on the state’s audiovisual services register, has not provided comment on how it intends to proceed in Russia when the law comes into effect on March 1.
Known as Vitrina TV law, the legislation would specifically require Netflix to 20 free-to-air Russian TV channels. This comes amid concerns that Netflix would be required to host Russian state propaganda, as well as misinformation and unsubstantiated claims pedalled by state officials in order to justify the ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which began on Feb. 24. The official narrative in Russia is that the invasion is a defensive act rather than an offensive.
For this reason, Ukrainian officials, including Mykhailo Fedorov, Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, have urged major technology companies, including Netflix, Google, Apple and Meta to take action against Russia. On social media, Fedorov explained, “I asked YouTube to block the Russian propaganda media, which call us Nazis and drug addicts, lie and promote war. Asked Meta to block Facebook and Instagram. I asked Netflix to block the service in Russia.” None of the companies have thus far responded directly to the call to action.
Engagement with the Russian state has shifted around the world following the invasion– an act largely condemned by the international community. There have been widespread boycotts of Russian products and support for humanitarian aid in Ukraine. Moreover, the U.S, U.K and Europe have placed various sanctions on Russian technology, oil and gas, and opted to provide financial aid to Ukraine’s military forces.
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Source: The Hollywood Reporter, Facebook
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