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Internet Giant Yandex Avoids Branding as Mass Media

Published: July 3, 2014 (Issue # 1818)



  • A deputy from the Liberal Democratic Party had asked prosecutors in mid-May to investigate whether the Yandex.Novosti news aggregator had violated laws governing media.
    Photo: Abd allah Foteih / Flickr

Leading Russian search engine Yandex will not have to register with the government as a media outlet, the Prosecutor General's Office said Wednesday, setting a precedent that suggests search engines' news aggregating sites may be safe from a wave of heightened regulation of the Internet.

"Based on the results of our inspection, no violation of current legislation on media has been found in the company," the agency's news service said, RIA Novosti reported.

A deputy from the Liberal Democratic Party, Andrei Lugovoi, had asked prosecutors in mid-May to investigate whether the Yandex.Novosti news aggregator had violated laws governing media.

"There is no difference between the news at the top of Yandex and news that is circulated, for instance, in a newspaper," Luguvoi said at the time.

Lugovoi, a former KGB bodyguard turned politician, has his own issues with prosecutors: The Duma deputy is wanted in Britain for the murder of Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko in 2006.

The prosecutor's announcement is good news for search engines, some of whom had said they would stop posting news on their websites if they were forced to register and subjected to the same laws as media outlets.

In May, President Vladimir Putin signed a law requiring websites that attract more than 3,000 daily visits — including bloggers — to register as media outlets with the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service and follow the rules governing what media can, and cannot, publish online.

The question of Yandex's status was very publicly posed in April, when a blogger asked Putin to define the search engine's legal responsibilities during a media forum.

"Every day several tens of millions of people see Yandex's top five news reports. … Despite this, Yandex does not have a media license and carries no legal responsibility as a media source," the blogger said.

"It is complicated," Putin said at the time, adding that the government and presidential administration were "considering the issue of what counts as mass media and what does not."





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Oct. 31


Put your grammar and logical thinking to the test in a fun and friendly environment during the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening starting at 5 p.m. today. The event is free and all are welcome to attend.



Saturday, Nov. 1


The men and women who dedicate their lives to fitness get their chance to compete for the title of best body in Russia at today’s Grand Prix Fitness House PRO, the nation’s premier bodybuilding competition. Not only will men and women be competing for thousands of dollars in prizes and a trip to represent their nation at Mr. Olympia but sporting goods and nutritional supplements will also be available for sale. Learn more about the culture of the Indian subcontinent during Diwali, the annual festival of lights that will be celebrated in St. Petersburg this weekend at the Culture Palace on Tambovskaya Ul. For 100 rubles ($2.40), festival-goers listen to Indian music, try on traditional Indian outfits and sample dishes highlighting the culinary diversity of the billion-plus people in the South Asian superpower.



Sunday, Nov. 2


Check out the latest video and interactive games at the Gaming Festival at the Mayakovsky Library ending today. Meet with the developers of the popular and learn more about their work, or learn how to play one of their creations with the opportunity to ask the creators themselves about the exact rules.



Monday, Nov. 3


Non-athletes can get feed their need for competition without breaking a sweat at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament this evening at the Cube Bar at Lomonosova 1. Referees will judge the validity of each matchup award points to winners while the city’s elite fight for the chance to be called the best of the best. Those hoping to play must arrange a team beforehand and pay 200 rubles ($4.80) to enter.



Tuesday, Nov. 4


Attend the premiere of Canadian director Xavier Dolan’s latest film “Mommy” at the Avrora theater this evening. The fifth picture from the 25-year-old, it is the story of an unruly teenager but the most alluring (or unappealing) aspect is the way the film was shot: in a 1:1 format that is more reminiscent of Instagram videos than cinematic art. Tickets cost 400 rubles ($9.60) and snacks and drinks will be available.



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