Due To Recent Events, Netflix Won't Allow Russian Government-Controlled Channels

As Russia and Ukraine end the first round of ceasefire talks following the former's violation of the latter's sovereignty last week, penalties have come down against what President Biden calls a "flagrant violation of international law." The Pentagon is sending jets and troops into Eastern Europe, and a number of Kremlin-connected banks have been dropped from the SWIFT system in an attempt to dissuade Vladimir Putin from any further acts of war.

Calls have come across the entertainment industry to denounce the Russian president's actions and impose sanctions of its own against the aggressor nation. So far, Eurovision has dropped Russia from its world-famous televised Song Contest, and some of Ukraine's top film and television authorities, the Ukrainian Film Academy and the organizers of Kyiv Media Week, are calling for the industry to cut ties with Russian-based companies, as well as a boycott of Russian media.

Now, Netflix has joined the fray by stating in no uncertain terms that it has "no plans" to add Russian government-controlled channels to its streaming service. The act snubs the latest Russian regulation, which mandates that companies with over 100,000 subscribers carry an assortment of different local stations which have the ability to air state-run propaganda. This broadcast rule could, in effect, turn services like Netflix — which launched in Russia only last year — into couriers of fake news.

'We have no plans to add these channels to our service.'

As the Ukrainian Film Academy's petition points out, Russia could put the money gained from cultural content towards nefarious purposes, hence the calls for a boycott:

We urge you to terminate all contracts with them. Remember that the business that will use your films pays taxes to the Russian budget, which finances the army that violated the borders of an independent state and buys missiles to bomb the civilian population of Europe.

"Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service," a Netflix spokesperson said today. Russia's Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media –- or the Roskomnadzor, for short –- added the streaming giant to its media stable last December, with the caveat that it offers twenty free-to-air propaganda channels in the news, sports, and entertainment categories. These channels, the regulatory body claims, are a "must-carry," under the rule locally dubbed the "Vitrina TV law." Among these is the Moscow-based Channel One, the first channel to broadcast across the Russian Federation and one consistently accused of running state propaganda (such as the time they ran footage from a tactical computer game and tried to pass it off as war footage from the Syrian front lines). With Kremlin-connected channels presenting as such, and amid increasingly alarming evidence that Russia is using its governmental authority to snuff out any semblance of the truth regarding Ukraine, Netflix is opting for non-compliance ahead of the law going into effect on March 1.