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Broadcasting of mandatory public TV and radio channels: draft law adopted by the State Duma in the first reading

10.06.2010
5 min read

Pepeliaev Group advises that on 2 June 2010 the Russian State Duma adopted in the first reading the draft Federal Law “On Amendments to Federal Law No. 126-FZ dated 7 July 2003 ‘On Telecommunications’” (hereinafter – the “Draft Law”) on the legal regulation of issues relating to the broadcasting of mandatory public TV and radio channels.

The Draft was developed to implement the provisions of Decree No. 715 of the President of the Russian Federation dated 24 June 2009 and the Concept for the Development of TV and Radio Broadcasting in the Russian Federation for 2008-2015 approved by Instructions No. 1700-r of the Russian Government dated 29 November 2007. These acts stipulate the establishment of a system of mandatory public TV and radio channels in Russia and also the mechanism for the terrestrial broadcasting of these channels throughout the country.

The explanatory note to the Draft Law indicates that it will regulate relations between broadcasters and telecommunications operators related to the broadcasting of mandatory public TV and radio channels, as well as the licensing of telecommunications services for the purposes of TV and radio broadcasting.

All amendments contained in the Draft Law may be hypothetically divided into three groups.
The first group relates to provisions stipulating the inclusion of two new definitions in Federal Law No. 126-FZ dated 7 July 2003 “On Telecommunications” (hereinafter – the “Law”): the definition of an operator of mandatory public TV and/or radio channels and the definition of the broadcasting of TV and/or radio channels.
An operator of mandatory public TV and/or radio channels is understood to mean a telecom operator, which provides the relevant services for the purposes of TV and/or radio broadcasting under a subscriber agreement and which is obligated under Law to broadcast mandatory public TV and/or radio channels, a list of which is determined in legislation on mass media.

The broadcasting of TV and/or radio channels is understood to mean the receipt and delivery of signal to the user (terminal) equipment or the receipt and transmission of the TV and/or radio broadcasting signal over the air.
The second group of amendments concerns the provisions of the Draft Law, which introduce amendments to the chapter of the Law on the connection of telecommunications networks and their interaction.

This group of amendments stipulates the inclusion of articles, which would regulate the specifics governing the connection and interaction of telecom networks owned by an operator of mandatory public TV and/or radio channels, as well as the broadcasting of such TV or radio channels.

According to the specified regulations, the operators of mandatory public TV and/or radio channels have two ways of receiving the signal for broadcasting mandatory public TV and/or radio channels:

  • through the receipt of a signal to be broadcast by said operator over the air without concluding a connection agreement;
  • through the connection of its network to the network of another telecom operator.


The operator of mandatory public TV and/or radio channels should obtain approval from the respective broadcaster before broadcasting such channels. To obtain said approval, the operator should send an application to the broadcaster of each mandatory public TV and/or radio channel in arbitrary form, which should specify the provisions determined in the Law. The broadcaster should consider the application within thirty calendar days and may reject it in the cases determined by the Law.

The third group of amendments includes the provisions of the Draft Law that regulate the licensing of telecom services provided for television and radio broadcasting purposes.

The Draft Law stipulates that the list of licensing terms to be included in the licences for telecom services rendered for TV and/or radio broadcasting purposes on the basis of subscriber agreements, irrespective of which telecoms networks are used, should include the terms on the broadcasting of mandatory TV and/or radio channels.

In addition, to obtain a licence for terrestrial TV (or radio) broadcasting the applicant should provide a copy of the duly issued broadcaster’s licence for TV (or radio) broadcasting activities.

The Draft Law also contains a number of other important innovations in the Law.

According to the Draft Law, the telecom operator providing services for the purpose of TV and/or radio broadcasting under the subscriber agreement should, according to the licensing terms, broadcast the mandatory public TV and/or radio channels through its operating networks without any modification, at its own expense and without the levying of a fee for the receipt and transmission of such channels. According to the document developed by the Russian Ministry for Telecommunications, the following are indicated as the main channels: Rossia-1 (Russia-1), Rossia-K (Russia-K), Rossia-24 (Russia-24), Pervy Kanal (Channel One), NTV (Independent TV), Bibigon, Pyaty Kanal (Channel Five).

According to the Resolution of the Russian State Duma Committee for Information Policy, Information Technology and Telecommunications dated 9 June 2010, the Draft Law was referred to the State Duma Council to be included in the draft schedule of the Russian State Duma for 18 June 2010 for the second reading. 

A number of amendments have been introduced to the Draft Law for the second reading.

Pepeliaev Group will keep you informed on further progress with the adoption of the Draft Law.

For further information, please contact:

Natalya Ivashchenko, Head of group "Telecommunications", at: (495) 967-0007 or by For further information, please contact:

Natalya Ivashchenko, Head of group "Telecommunications", at: (495) 967-0007 or by n.ivashchenko@pgplaw.ru

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