Russia extends must-carry rules

Russian flagThe Russian government has extended and hardened must-carry rules imposed on the country’s pay TV operators.

Two new amendments to laws governing media distribution will see operators obliged to carry all free-to-air channels and forbidden to make any changes to the time of transmission on terrestrial TV.

The current list of must-carry services now includes the 10 TV and three radio services included in the country’s first digital-terrestrial multiplex. Operators are obliged to retransmit the channels at now cost to subscribers or to the channels themselves.

This is now being extended to cover retransmission of all channels licensed by the Federal authorities that have coverage of over two thirds of the population of the regions, while operators will also be obliged to retransmit services that have coverage of two thirds of more of those municipalities in which the operators offer services.

Operators will be forbidden from changing the time of transmission of the channels without their permission. Channels in Russia stagger their transmission times to account for the country’s different time zones from East to West.