While applying the law, a reasonable balance should be maintained between preventing unlawful use of insider information and at the same time protecting freedom of speech and use of economic data obtained through legal sources, Dmitry Medvedev stressed.
The President noted that the law was drafted taking into account the media community’s views. An exhaustive list of information considered to be insider information has now been drawn up, Mr Medvedev said.
As defined by the law, insider information is precise and specific information, including data qualified as commercial, official and banking secrets, and confidential communications, which, if disseminated or made publicly available, could, in particular, have a major impact on the price of financial instruments, foreign currencies, or goods.
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President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev: Mr Shchegolev, I discussed the amendments to the laws on insider activities not so long ago with media community representatives. Some of the provisions in the draft law, which was going through the parliament at that moment, were the subject of certain doubts.
After that discussion, I issued instructions to make changes to a number of the draft law’s provisions. As far as I know, overall the media community, which has followed this situation closely, is satisfied with these changes, as I was told when discussing this matter with them again later. Now the law has been signed and is coming into effect.
First of all, I want you to pay very close attention to the law’s impact on the media and mass communications. Second, I want you to comment on some of the law’s specific provisions that will start being applied, because this is a rather new instrument that we need in order to promote competition while at the same time ensuring that insider information is used only within the limits set by the law.
Application of this law must respect a reasonable and real balance between preventing unlawful use of insider information and at the same time protecting freedom of speech and use of economic information obtained from lawful sources by lawful means, and used in accordance with this law’s provisions.
These are the two fundamental points that must be respected in applying the new law. Of course, the Ministry of Communications and Mass Media will have to monitor this, as will the Federal Service for Financial Markets, as the watchdog directly responsible for preventing unlawful use of insider information causing losses or generating unjustified profits.
Minister OF COMMUNICATIONS AND MASS MEDIA IGOR SHCHEGOLEV: Mr President, I want to thank you for your support, and I say this on behalf of the media community too.
The Federal Service for Financial Markets did indeed draft this law, and its initial drafts set excessively stringent restrictions, above all on the media covering companies’ activities and the situation on financial markets. Its provisions could be interpreted as saying that practically any provision of this kind of information to the media could be qualified as a violation of insider information rules and potential attempt to manipulate the markets.
Of course, this would have put an end to a whole area of journalism in our country. After consultations with our colleagues from the Federal Service for Financial Markets and media community representatives from general and specialised economic media, we found a solution that suits the media community.
This means that supplying information to the media will not be qualified as unlawful. An exhaustive list of information classified as insider information has been drawn up, and the media is relieved from liability in clearly defined cases: if the information is made available with reference to another media outlet, or with the source specifically named. Such information is not considered unlawful, and the media outlet cannot be held liable in such cases.
Furthermore, the cases in which the media must disclose information sources have been defined. This is done at the request of the Federal Service for Financial Markets, which must give clear justification for why it considers this or that information false, and why it caused manipulation of the markets, or provide evidence that the media outlet in question acted in its own selfish interests, using the information to make a profit or avoid a loss.
These cases are listed clearly in the law, and of course our agencies working with the media, and the watchdog agencies, will monitor the situation to ensure there are no abuses, make sure that the media can do what they need to do to ensure full and objective coverage of economic life, and guarantee that freedom of speech is respected.