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/or 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?
- 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, and age labelling)
- Fulfilment of contractual obligations regarding content with local distributors, where applicable
- Mass media organisations:
- Strict restrictions on content distributed via mass media
- Recent tightening 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;
- 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
- 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 companies on various business issues in the course of production, promotion and distribution of motion pictures
- Advising a 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.