Russia escalates use of “foreign agents” law by threatening massive fines against RFE/RL
Press freedom groups have warned of a serious escalation of Russia’s repression of free media after media regulator Roskomnadzor announced it would impose fines on US broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty for breaking the country’s “foreign agents” law. RFE/RL’s Russian service, as well as related broadcasting outlets and several named individuals, face the prospect of heavy fines for failing to comply with the infamous law, which requires foreign-funded media to identify themselves as foreign agents in all their broadcasts and publications. The international press freedom watchdog RSF said the law is absurd and designed to silence independent and opposition media.
The AEJ has joined the Committee to Protect Journalists and other organisations committed to defending media freedom in publishing a formal “media freedom alert” on the Council of Europe’s Platform for the safety of journalists, which monitors attacks on the media of all kinds across Europe. The alert and related information can be seen in full here: https://go.coe.int/gigMC .
Russia’s hugely powerful media regulator Roskomnadzor has also just ordered Twitter to delete the account of an influential opposition news outlet, and warned the social network that if it refuses it could be completely blocked in Russia, the Guardian reported:
MBKh Media is an online news outlet founded by Mihkail Khodorkovsky, the well-known critic of Putin and exiled oligarch. The latest moves are seen as part of a wider crackdown on social media and the political opposition following a wave of protests supporting the jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, which were organised via online platforms.