Due to come into force from January 1, 2017 law news aggregator “Yandex” forced to change the terms of cooperation with its partners. With the commencement of the amendments, the service “Yandex.News” will show in the top-5 news, as well as in regional and thematic headings only, literally reproducing the materials registered in the Russian media.

About innovations “Kommersant” was told in “Yandex”, noting that forced to changes in cooperation due to the coming into force of the law on news aggregators. “We have warned all partners “Yandex.News” (almost seven thousand) by sending them a letter about the additional conditions,” the company said.

From 1 January 2017 in the top 5 of news on the front pages of “Yandex” and “Yandex.News” and in news stories, regional and thematic headings will only display information from partners, which is a verbatim reproduction of media materials, explained in “Yandex”. If the partner does not accept the terms of the agreement, the information will no longer appear in the top news stories and sections, but will continue to appear in search results “Yandex.News” on relevant searches.

The interlocutor of “Kommersant” in one of the media companies confirmed that in early October on Yandex received a letter with a warning that the aggregator will not be able to work with the publications without a license media. Previously, the company reported that its work with partners may change because it is impossible to check hundreds of thousands of messages from external editors, as the law requires news aggregators. According to TNS Russia, the Russian audience of “Yandex.News” in September of 2016 amounted to about 25 million people aged 12 to 64 years old excluding mobile devices.

The Russian state Duma on 10 June 2016 passed a bill equating a major Internet news services to the media. The amendments require the owners of a news aggregator with daily attendance of more than 1 million users “to check the accuracy of the distributed public of important information prior to their dissemination and to immediately cease their distribution on the basis of the requirements” of Roskomnadzor.

Aggregators must not be used for disclosure of information constituting a state secret, the dissemination of calls to terrorism or public justification of terrorism, as well as materials that promote pornography, cult of violence and cruelty, and materials containing obscene language. The owners aggregators are obliged to prevent the use of the service for distribution to news media to discredit citizens by gender, age, racial or national affiliation, language, attitude to religion, profession, place of residence and work, as well as in connection with their political beliefs. They are obliged to comply with the prohibitions and restrictions stipulated by the legislation of the Russian Federation on elections.

The second reading of a controversial norm was excluded from the text of the bill taking into account the wishes of the Internet community. In particular, the period of the law’s entry into force was postponed to 1 January 2017, although initially it was assumed that it will enter into force 10 days after its official publication.

In addition, owners news aggregators freed from responsibility for a verbatim reprint of mass media registered in accordance with the legislation of the Russian Federation. Prior to this it was assumed that aggregators will be required to verify the accuracy of the disseminated public information, including the source of which is the media.

In this case, the owner of the aggregator can be any foreign entity, through the establishment of a Russian legal entity. Thus was removed the question about the 20 per cent restriction on foreign ownership of news aggregators, which is now in effect for the media.

Owners aggregators are obliged to store only the information published by the service. Without this clarification, the requirement of the law was read as an obligation to store the entire volume data aggregator.

Were also reduced administrative fines for non-compliance by the owner aggregator of the requirements of Roskomnadzor to stop the spread of news.

Amendments to the law “On information” and the administrative code, shall be treated as news aggregators for media, was introduced to the state Duma in the end of February 2016 by deputies Alexey Kazakov (“Fair Russia”) and Alexander Yushchenko (CPRF). The bill caused heated discussion in society and criticism from representatives of the Internet industry, which pointed out that the adoption of the document in its original form will lead to the closure of news aggregators because of the excessive requirements to the verification of published information and the responsibility of service owner for the information disseminated.

In particular, experts have criticized the provision concerning the responsibility of news services for the verbatim reprinting of messages and materials or their fragments distributed by the media. In the state Duma started thinking about changing this part of the bill, but in the first reading, on 19 April, the document was adopted without any adjustments.

After that, the company Mail.ru and “Yandex” that control Russia’s largest news aggregators, warned about the possible closure of its news services because of the bill. The second reading of the requirements of the representatives of the Internet industry have taken into account, by editing the bill.

“Yandex” has informed the partners about change of conditions of cooperation because of the law about news aggregators 21.10.2016

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