According to a BBC Monitoring text of a report by Russian state news agency ITAR-TASS, the State Duma (parliament) has passed the law which was devised by the government.
The channels concerned are Rossiya 1, Rossiya 2, Rossiya 24, Rossiya K, Channel One, NTV, Bibigon and St Petersburg's Channel Five.
Aleksandr Zharov, deputy telecommunications and mass communications minister, explained to MPs that the document "obliges operators that provide communications services involving television and radio broadcasts on the basis of agreements with subscribers, in other words pay-TV operators, to broadcast compulsory, universally available television channels and radio stations without charging subscribers and broadcasters". "In other words, people will receive these television channels free of charge," he confirmed. "This obligation will be a condition in licensing organizations that provide communications services for the purpose of television and radio broadcasting," the official clarified.
Under the Russian Federation Television and Radio Broadcasting Development Plan for 2008-2015, which has been approved by the government, compulsory and universally available channels must be free for everyone and accessible via all forms of broadcast - satellite, terrestrial, cable and wire.
© Rapid TV News 2010