Russian parliament passes law capping foreign ownership of media outlets at 20%

Limit: The law will take effect in 2016

A law has been passed in the Russian parliament preventing foreign investors from owning more than a 20 per cent slice in any Russian media outlets.

According to the Guardian, the law was passed by a vote of 430-2 and will take effect from the beginning of 2016, although existing media owners have until February 2017 to make sure their affairs are in order.

So far, Russian Forbes editor Elmar Murtazayev has speculated that the publication will close in Russia rather than sell to a Russian owner in order to continue operating.

Previously, foreign investors and companies could hold a 50 per cent stake in Russian media outlets.

One of the authors of the bill, Vadim Dengin, said the move would protect Russia from western influence, while A Just Russia leader Sergei Mironov said an “information war” was being waged against Russia by “several foreign governments".

Tensions between Russia and the west heightened this year after fighting in the region led to Russia annexing Crimea. The remaining conflict in eastern Ukraine between domestic forces and pro-Russian rebels then led to the shooting down of a Malaysian Airlines passenger flight, killing all on board. Both sides have blamed each other for the incident.

In March of this year, US title the Huffington Post revealed plans to launch in Russia amid an international expansion had been shelved because of the crisis.

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