03.06.2021

Maintaining a Single Digital Landscape in the Face of a Struggle for Digital Sovereignty

Maintaining a Single Digital Landscape in the Face of a Struggle for Digital Sovereignty

“Our resources are regularly subjected to censor and discrimination by foreign IT giants. […] We could manage with RuTube, which is similar to YouTube, without their help and without their interference in our lives. [...] Not defending your digital sovereignty is like not defending your borders,” said Margarita Simonyan, Editor-in-Chief of Rossiya Segodnya Media Group and Sputnik International News Agency.

“Our platforms should definitely be an alternative to theirs. We need to make them trendy and convenient. […] All foreign platforms have to have legal representation, and not marketing, as it is now. [...] The law on retaliatory measures against the censoring of Russian information resources should be the same for everyone. I welcome the introduction of this law,” Gazprom Media Holding CEO Alexander Zharov said.

“There are two concepts.[…] The first is the freedom to disseminate information in the world. We’re currently talking about global networks [...] This is the free dissemination of information and the inadmissibility of hindering it. This concept is already being introduced in a number of international documents. […] The second concept is the protection of the national media space. This involves the internal national legislation of a country, which regulates, protects, or lobbies for everything related to the media sphere. Do they contradict each other? We have to look at each specific case, but the most important thing is that these two concepts have a state dimension and that the actors are states. The state builds a protective mechanism within itself [...] but at the same time it interacts with other countries to developing certain common steps. This had been the case until recently, but a new player has appeared. These are private companies. It used to only be television and radio corporations and publishing houses. They had a national dimension. If you transmit a signal to the territory of other states, it was still based on the need to interact with state dimensions [...] And now there are private corporations that work online and promote all types of media products from video content, television content, printed content, and multi-content there. Most importantly, though, they have 100% coverage. We are approaching a new reality, when they aren’t the ones who come to the state or state associations to understand what they are violating; rather, everything is exactly the opposite,” said Maria Zakharova, Director of the Information and Press Department at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

PROBLEMS

Insufficient development in Russian digital media

“Our amazing country, which has created a vaccine, and not just one, but four already, the first in the world to do so, and has created a lot of things and continues to create, completely missed out on its development in the world of digital media [...] Moreover, we have gone downhill in this regard,” said Margarita Simonyan, Editor-in-Chief of Rossiya Segodnya Media Group and Sputnik International News Agency.

“As we know, Twitter publishes false information. […] And we don’t have the ability to work and convey the official position. I’m not talking about any refutation, but at least just the official position. This is a big problem,” Dialogue Regions Deputy General Director Kirill Istomin said.

“The pressure being exerted by foreign IT corporations on players on the Russian market is a problem that is becoming more serious and urgent. Companies such as Facebook, YouTube, and others are devoting more and more efforts to both moderating and blocking content that specifically concerns a number of Russian media outlets. This is already becoming a kind of censorship,” RT Channel Journalist and Anchor Daniel Hawkins said.

“Social media have been removed from the jurisdiction of legislation, both supranational and domestic. There are no regulations to dictate how they build their internal strategy, international strategy, and so on. This is manual control,” said Maria Zakharova, Director of the Information and Press Department at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

SOLUTION

Russia needs to create its own social media and preferences

“The stick ought to be for the tech platforms and the carrot for our platforms and for our users. Accordingly, a huge number of options could be considered here. For example, preferences. Maybe it’s not worth taxing the users who post their content and maintain their pages on our platforms for a long enough period. Conversely, if we are talking about a stick for their platforms. […] Fines need to be increased. In addition, the situation with slowing down traffic has proven itself quite well,” Gazprom Media Holding CEO Alexander Zharov said.

“Laws are being passed, people have started saying completely different things, large fines have been issued, and traffic has begun to slow down. This won’t solve all the problems until we create our own, comprehensive, and truly sovereign [...] We will be under attack,” said Margarita Simonyan, Editor-in-Chief of Rossiya Segodnya Media Group and Sputnik International News Agency.

“We need our own platforms and social media, some of which we already have, incidentally,” said Roman Babayan, Host of the Right to Vote programme on the TV Centre Channel.


https://roscongress.org/en/news/borba-za-tsifrovoj-suverenitet-kak-sohranit-edinoe-informatsionnoe-p...