Russian lower house of parliament approves restrictions of foreign ownership in media

The Russian parliament's lower house has approved a bill restricting foreign ownership in Russian media to 20 percent.

The Kremlin-controlled State Duma on Friday voted 430-2 to pass the measure, which has been seen as the Kremlin's move to further stifle media freedom. The bill also needs to be approved by the equally pliant upper house and signed by President Vladimir Putin to become law — steps considered to be a mere formality.

Many of Russia's top media outlets, including the Vedomosti business daily and the Russian Forbes magazine, have foreign ownership.

The bill's supporters said limitations on foreigners' ownership of the Russian media were necessary in the face of what they described as an "information war" waged against Russia by the West over the Ukrainian crisis.