In a bold move by the streaming giant, Netflix Inc (NASDAQ: NFLX) has refused to add propaganda channels in Russia, citing “the current situation,” namely the Ukraine invasion. To continue operating in the country, the platform is required to add 20 federal television channels, including the government-led Piervy Kanal, as of March 1.
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Disregarding Russian Law
According to European website Politico, Netflix must spread Kremlin propaganda if it wants to continue doing business in the country. The requirement is part of Russia’s communication regulator to control content viewed on media outlets and streaming services.
The law means that the platform must stream 20 Russian federal television stations, including the likes of Channel One, NTV and a channel run by the Russian Orthodox Church, Spas. —Channel One is widely known for having close ties with Moscow.
On Monday evening, a Netflix spokesperson was quoted as saying: “Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service.”
The announcement arrives at a time when the Russian invasion of Ukraine is triggering worldwide outcry and has prompted the globe’s biggest economies to draw sanctions against the country.
“The law, which would have applied to Netflix as of March 1, requires media platforms that reach more than 100,000 subscribers in Russia to distribute free-to-air Russian news and entertainment TV channels,” CNN Business reports.
Despite the law coming into effect on March 1, it is unknown the consequences Netflix will face after refusing to comply —at present, the company is set to continue operating in Russia despite the announcement.
As part of the bulk of sanctions coming from all fronts, Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) and Warner Bros. announced they would not release new films — Warner Bros. said is canceling the premiere of The Batman.
Disney said in a statement: “Given the unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and the tragic humanitarian crisis, we will pause the release of our films in Russia, including Pixar’s upcoming Turning Red. ”
Netflix is part of the Entrepreneur Index, which tracks 60 of the largest publicly traded companies managed by their founders or their founders’ families.