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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, Nov. 28


Join table-top game aficionados at the British Book Center’s Board Game Evening. Held every Friday at 5 p.m., aficionados and amateurs alike can come take part in a variety of different games that test one’s intellect and cunning.



Saturday, Nov. 29


Cats, dogs, birds, rodents and reptiles are just some of the things that will walk and crawl at Lenexpo convention center this weekend as part of Zooshow, a two-day exhibition featuring not only man’s best friends but a four-legged fashion show, as well as a food fair that will help pet owners find out more about which kibbles are best for their hungry pets.



Sunday, Nov. 30


Remember the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Russo-Finnish war in 1939 during today’s reenactment titled “Winter War: How it Was.” More than 200 people will take part in recreating the opening salvoes of the battle for the north in Kamenka, a small village situated between Vyborg and St. Petersburg, using authentic equipment and vintage vehicles from the era. The faux battle begins at 2 p.m.



Monday, Dec. 1


Serbia filmmaker Emir Kusturica is the featured guest this evening at the Lensovet Palace of Culture the Petrograd Side. Fans of the director will get the chance to watch his movie “Black Cat, White Cat,” as well as ask questions about his award-winning filmography. Tickets for the event, which starts at 7 p.m., start at 2,000 rubles ($42.50).



Tuesday, Dec. 2


Today is the final day of “Takoy Festival,” a three-week program of plays based on the works of Dostoevsky, Remarque and other famed European writers, whose work is transcribed for theatrical performances. Tonight’s festival finale is “Fathers and Sons,” a two-act drama staged by the Novosibirsk Academic Drama Theater based on Turgenev’s classic about familial relations.



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