The Committee on Industrial Policy at the Council of Federation has prepared a concept of the bill which for the first time introduces such a legal definition as internet mass media. The concept presented defines the legal framework of mass media Internet activities and, basically, is a set of amendments to the standing law “On Mass Media”. The amendments introduced provide for facultative registration of such resources.
It should be noted that at present ru.net (as well as by.net) hosts quite a big number of information resources which are de facto mass media. De facto, yet not de jure. For instance, the law “On Mass Media” which has been recently adopted in Belarus can be applied only to those Internet resources that are the internet-editions of print and electronic media. At the same time, the legal framework does not include those internet-portals which, in fact, are involved in journalistic activities but distributed only via the Internet.
Commenting upon the bill introduced, Deputy Chairman of the Committee Vladimir Slutsker noted that in this bill the definition internet mass media includes “all internet-editions of traditional mass media: newspapers, magazines, radio- and TV-channels as well as those internet resources which has been registered in accordance with the established procedure for mass communication media”.
At the same time, the definition excludes the internet-resources that are not involved in professional journalistic activities which are web stores, internet-enquiries, chats, personal blogs, social networks, introductions websites and discussion groups.
The Deputy Chairman made a special emphasis on facultative registration of internet mass media: “According to the law “On Mass Media” informational resources defined as mass media have the right to register as internet mass media, but this registration is by no means compulsory”.
Vladimir Slutsker believes that the registration and legal implementation of internet mass media is necessary due to the increased number of legal collisions and controversies concerning the information put in the Internet.
“Legal vacuum forces the courts to be guided by personal considerations instead of precise legislative regulations,” said the Deputy Chairman.
On Tuesday the key clauses of the bill were submitted for the consideration of the Committee on Informational Policy at the Council of Federation and got the approval from the majority of its members.