Законодательное регулирование Рунета
This article aims to reveal the trends in the regulation of the blogosphere in Russia. The timeliness of the research is determined by the 2014 changes in the legal status of bloggers and those who organize the dissemination of mass information on the Internet. The research examines scholarly approaches to criteria of blogoshere. It also studies the rules and application of the blogger’s statute. It has been argued that the statute establishes inflexible criteria to determine bloggers and attempts to apply the rules set up for journalists to bloggers. The research also observes a contradiction, in that legislators increase state control over the blogosphere while law enforcers restrain from the application of strict measures, which are stipulated in the blogger’s statute.
Russia first introduced Internet regulation in 2012 with site blockings and then progressed to personal data retention and ban on VPNs. This makes an interesting case because online media had spread and established a parallel political agenda in Russia in the 2000s, before the onset of regulations. The focus of this study is the contents and dynamics of media coverage of Internet regulation in Russia over years, particularly the topics covered and the countries involved. It uses topic modeling and social network analysis to analyze 6,140 texts from Russia's largest mass media collection. The automatic modeling approach helps obtain reproducible evidence on the structure and actors of the otherwise highly politicized discourse. The study demonstrated, first, the growing interest of Russian media to Internet regulation, with comparable shares of state-controlled and private media in this discourse. Second, it revealed the structure of 50 topics arranging into nine clusters, from gambling to international relations, with one dominant network segment spanning over five clusters. Third, it identified groups of countries by their appearance in the texts and co-appearance in one text as 'communities' of countries that can 'put on the map' the discourse on certain topics of Internet regulation in Russia.
Internet regulation in Russia has vigorously expanded in recent years to transform the relatively free communication environment of the 2000s into a heavily regulated one. Our goal was to identify the topic structure of Russian media discourse on Internet regulation and compare it between political and non-political media outlets. We used structural topic modeling on 7,240 texts related to Internet regulation that appeared in the Russian media in 2009-2017. We discovered the non-linear dynamics and the larger share of political media covering Internet regulation over years and compared the topics specific to political and non-political media outlets. We found out that most topics had a different share between political and non-political media and that discourse on law belongs largely to the political media. We also identified four clusters in the topics of media coverage of Internet regulation in Russia related to the law, norms, politics, and business, and the time references of particular topics. In addition, we show the parallel dynamics of the topics on site blockings and political opposition and provide the background on legislation and public opinion on Internet regulation in Russia. Our results demonstrate a rather politicized nature of Internet regulation and its connection to a broader political context in Russia.