Screening and Compliance of Content for Distribution in Russia

In 2009 MGAP Attorneys at Law became the first Russian legal firm to provide a unique screening service for clients in the Russian media field.  By 2011 our experience of providing this service had grown into a special Screening and Compliance practice.


  • Different requirements for mass media organisations (TV, newspapers, etc.) and others (cinema 
theatres, websites, online stores, VOD, etc.)
  • Specific requirements for advertisement content
  • Ongoing development of restrictions depending on current social and political environment
  • Unwritten restrictions (concerning content on politics, religion, World War II).

Core legal issues 

  • Strong language
  • Showing tobacco
  • Drugs and drugs promotion
  • Violence and cruelty
  • Information on means of committing suicide
  • Public calls for participation in unapproved meetings
  • Child protection legislation: proper age labelling, restrictions on broadcast timings. A list of content restricted for children, including propaganda of ‘non-traditional’ (gay) sexual relations
  • Dissemination and promotion of pornography
  • Extremism, separatism etc.

Who does the present legislation on content affect and why? 


1. Producers and rights’ holders:

  • Assessment of the Russian market as a platform for distribution
  • Cost and time efficient adaptation of content in accordance with local requirements and 
restrictions (mainly language, product placement, age labelling)
  • Fulfilment of contractual obligations regarding content with local distributors, where applicable;

2. Mass media organisations:

  • Strict restrictions on content distributed via mass media
  • Recent toughening-up of legislation on mass media and enforcement practice 
(restriction of commercials on pay TV; limitation of shares in non-Russian entities and individuals in Russian mass media organisations, etc.)
  • Two warning letters from the regulatory authority within a year are grounds for termination of business for a mass media organisation;

3. Pay TV channels:

  • Pay TV channels are mass media organisations
  • From 1 January 2015 commercials are prohibited on pay TV
  • Product placement, cross-promo campaigns and other indirect advertisements on pay TV are considered to  be in breach of the law;

4. Cinema theatres:

  • The showing of films containing strong language is prohibited in cinemas.


MGAP’s experience includes

  • Advising foreign TV channels on compliance with mass media and advertising requirements;
  • Advising major Russian production and distribution company on various business issues in the course of production, promotion and distribution of motion pictures;
  • Advising one of the major US film studio on parental ratings for motion pictures;
  • Advising a popular looped video service with over 45 million users per month on advertising matters.


For more information, please, contact


Sergei Grachev, Managing Partner

Yuriy Korchuganov, Partner, TMT Practice