CNN International Applies for Broadcasting License in Russia (Report)

Moscow - H - 2015
Associated Press

The move brings the broadcaster closer to expected resumption of operations in Russia.

CNN International has applied for a broadcasting license in Russia in a bid to return to the market, which it exited in early 2015.

"We have received an application for a universal broadcasting license in Russia from CNN International," Roskomnazor, Russia’s communications watchdog, announced, adding that the agency is to consider the application within 30 days but, most likely, a decision will be announced earlier.

Roskomnadzor also said it had nothing to do with the broadcaster’s decision to terminate operations in Russia as of Jan. 1, 2015.

CNN announced the move last November, and it was widely believed to be triggered by legislation under which commercials on Russian pay TV were to be banned as of Jan. 1, 2015.

“It was [?NN’s] decision,” Alexander Zharov, Roskomnadzor’s head, was quoted as saying by the Russian news agency Interfax. “No one discussed it with us. But we are open for dialogue.”

He added that he saw “no legislative obstacles” for CNN International’s obtaining a broadcasting license in Russia.

Until this January, CNN operated in Russia without a broadcasting license but faced no problems because of that.

Last month, CNN executives had a meeting with Roskomnadzor officials to discuss the broadcaster’s possible return to Russia. No details about the meeting were disclosed.

The law banning commercials on pay TV was recently amended, but it still applies to foreign broadcasters, while local networks are exempt.