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Netflix Forced to Stream State-Owned TV Channels in Russia

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Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media, known as Roskomnadzor, will require Netflix to stream state-approved television channels to Russian customers starting in March 2022 — reports The Moscow Times

Netflix’s addition to the Russian media watchdog’s register of “audio-visual services,” which went through on Tuesday, was contingent upon the platform offering state-approved TV channels to local customers.

The streamer will be required to offer 20 major Russian federal television channels, including flagship state-owned Channel One, entertainment-focused NTV, and the Russian Orthodox Church’s in-house channel Spas on its platform.

Roskomnadzor’s register was established in late 2020 and applies to all online streaming services with more than 100,000 daily users.

It is mandatory for registered services to create a Russian company and comply with Russian law, which includes controversial provisions calling for censoring and banning the promotion of whatever the state deems “extremism” — a restriction that has in the past been used against supporters of the anti-Kremlin opposition.

Russia has been keen on putting the screws on internet giants operating within its borders as of late. In September, Russia wielded these provisions against foreign tech companies Apple and Google, strongarming them into removing the anti-Kremlin opposition’s ‘Smart Voting’ app from the App Store and Google Play Store, respectively.

Russian authorities last week also fined Alphabet’s Google $98 million USD and Meta, formerly Facebook, $27.15 million USD for not deleting content deemed illegal in the country.

Check out what’s new on Netflix in Canada for January 2022 — spoiler: there are no state-sponsored TV channels on the list.

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