“We fill in legal vacuum. It is not about mass media. Their activity is already regulated enough.” – said Alexey Kazakov, one of the draft law authors. He believes news aggregators must handle information very responsibly: whether republish trustworthy mass media, which verify information, or bear responsibility if they publish information without its verification. “Aggregators have more influence than mass media. But we don’t want to make unbearable conditions for them (but, in fact, draft law makes it) therefore we grant only to relevant authorities, but not to citizens, the right to submit a claim to Roskomnadzor.” – said Kazakov. He also admits Russian market can lose resources with foreign participation (where foreign participation in companies share is more than 20%). “There are ideological manipulations, and we must control them and minimise foreign influence.” – underlined Kazakov.
Other author of draft law, Alexandr Ushenko, partially bases his position on community studies showing that 60% of users receive news from searching programs and aggregators, but not from traditional mass media. “Such resources determine news agenda by ranking news. Such function requires bearing responsibility like mass media”, – he says and at the same time underlining that inauthenticity of information can be connected with “engaged placement of news” in top. Besides, such services like Twitter, Facebook are already testing their own news services in other countries, therefore such activity must be regulated by Russian law, he believes. Leonid Levin thinks such regulation is relevant. “Today, it is not so important where news have appeared. More important is – who will disseminate them. News aggregators play main role and it is very complicated not to observe it. The role of social networks as modern news services is growing and users consume their products like TV and newspapers in past.”
Russian president’s spokesperson, Dmitry Perskov, stated that Kremlin does not have unequivocal position on this issue. “There are different points of view, moreover they are well-reasoned. It wouldn’t be logical to simplify this subject. … Therefore it is necessary to elaborate this issue. …” – he said.