Just In: Netflix Says It will Not Stream Russian Propaganda Channels

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Netflix says it would not offer a number of state-run channels in Russia, as required by a new law, despite predictions that it may soon be forced to do so.

Netflix was one of several services added to a list of content distributors with over 100,000 users maintained by Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor, according to Variety. According to Variety, the new regulation mandates large streaming platforms to carry 20 Russian broadcast channels, including the state-funded Channel One.

The Associated Press named Channel One among a number of stations last week as skewing the narrative to fit with the Kremlin’s propaganda around Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. NTV and Spa, a channel affiliated with the Russian Orthodox Church, are among the other networks mentioned by Variety.

Netflix, on the other hand, told The Verge that it had no plans to carry the channels.

“Given the current scenario, we have no plans to add these channels to our service,” a spokesperson said, declining to be identified for safety reasons.

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When the rule takes effect, Politico Europe reported last week that Netflix may be required to transmit the channels, citing a December article from The Moscow Times that suggested the mandate will extend to Netflix. Netflix does not support livestreaming in any of its markets at the moment.

When it comes to reporting on when and how the law would be enforced, there has been a lot of dispute. While the regulation has not yet been completely enforced, according to Politico Europe, the new laws will apply to Netflix as of March 1st.

Netflix was warned in December that it will be expected to comply with the new regulation, according to the Wall Street Journal, citing a source familiar with the situation.

Following Russia’s war on Ukraine, tech companies are being pressed to explain how they plan to continue operating in the country. Last week, Facebook’s parent company Meta was largely “limited” in Russia after failing to comply with Roskomnadzor’s requests that it discontinue fact-checking Russian state-owned media companies.

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