Another fashion is Telegram channels. In Russia, Telegram is not merely a messenger service, but a source of social and political analytics and some pseudo secret information from political 'insiders'. Telegram has become a home for countless anonymous channels which are able to quickly spread unverified news and gossips. The popularity of such channels demonstrates the value of exclusive and seemingly closed information environments for the audience. It is also interesting that the Telegram service does not allow the feedback (such as 'likes' or 'reactions') for the channels, but some see it as an advantage that preserves the meaning of the message itself.
Blogging is another a rapidly developing phenomenon in Russia. Many bloggers turn into opinion leaders and have political and social influence on their audience, especially on the youth. Telegram channels, blogs, and social media more generally, have created new opportunities for any user to become a news maker or even an expert. Nowadays being an author of a famous and popular Telegram channel is enough to be considered an authority on Russian society and politics.
However, receiving news from social media is always followed by uncontrolled flows of information, distracting news, clickbait titles, jokes and senseless entertainment. The regulatory landscape in Russia is responding to these realities. In 2014 a special law on bloggers was to compel each blogger with a daily audience of at least 3000 people to register officially as a media unit and adhere to relevant media laws. In 2017 the Russian government cancelled the law and shut down the register of bloggers. In 2019 the Russian parliament accepted two laws which prohibit the dissemination of fake news and news that "openly demonstrates disrespect to society, state, official state symbols, the Constitution of the Russian Federation and bodies executing government power in Russia".
Those laws were widely discussed and criticized in Russia and abroad because of the vague definitions and mechanisms. To some extent, it is understandable why such laws are being considered. In Russia, there were instances during times of emergency where media and bloggers were spreading unverified information about victims and damages that caused panic and alarm among citizens (examples: act of terror in Saint Petersburg in 2017, tragedy in Kemerovo in 2018). However, neither a special governmental commission nor the President himself should decide which news is fake or disrespectful to the state. Indeed, these regulations still require improvement.
In conclusion, the media in Russia, as in any other part of the world, are looking for new effective methods to stand their ground and catch attention of the public amidst technological transformations. And today their primary competitors are people continually creating their own content and the Internet itself which has granted people access to incalculable amount of information.
The source: Observer Research Foundation