Telegram Channels Wanted to Be Equated to the Media

11 May 2023

The head of the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society and Human Rights (HRC), Valery Fadeev, suggested to analyze the work of Telegram channels and, possibly, introduce legislative regulation for them, similar to the media.

Valery Fadeev, commenting on the need to adopt this law, explained that some of the Telegram channels are similar to newsrooms, which “in terms of content and meaning of activity are no different from traditional media. At the same time, traditional media operate within the framework of the law, the law provides for serious liability for lies, slander, and violation of secrecy.”

“The legislation even now allows holding channel owners and their administrators accountable for spreading fakes, slander, disclosure of state secrets and other offenses,” said media lawyer Svetlana Kuzevanova.

“The only difficulty that arises with prosecution is the removal of anonymity and the identification of who directly owns or administers the Telegram channel. What can registration give if, nevertheless, this proposal acquires the format of a legislative initiative? First of all, this is a way out of the anonymous field,” she said in an interview with Vedomosti.

The regulation of Telegram channels is also complicated by the fact that the messenger is divided into two companies on behalf of which activities are carried out: Telegram Group Inc. (place of registration – British Virgin Islands) and Telegram FZ-LLC (Dubai).

It should be noted that Telegram occupies a huge share in the information agenda within the Russian audience. This messenger has become the most popular in the Russian Federation in 2022, according to telecom operators. The growth of the daily Telegram audience since January 2022 was plus 104%. According to the New Media channel, in March 2023, Telegram overtook YouTube for the first time in terms of the number of daily audience (50.9 million people for the messenger, for video hosting – 50.7 million).

Photo source: Aglaya Kovaleva