Russia in the midst of the largest crackdown on the free press

In the last eighteen months, Russia has increased its pressure on journalism extraordinarily. Instead of using brutality, the campaign is waged quietly with a legal tool of a law that regulates the activities of the so-called foreign agents. This started when the law was first used against a media outlet in 2017, when various U.S.-government funded outlets, like the Voice of America, were declared as foreign agents. But, last year, Russia began to depict it as against the independent Russian journalists. The foreign agent law was signed in 2012. Earlier, it was used against the NGOs and civil society groups that received foreign grant money. Later, it was used against the media in 2017.

The first targets in the assault on independent, critical journalism in Russia were all the newsrooms. However recently, the state has taken to applying the foreign agents’ label to individual journalists too. This list is public, often serving as the initial notification affected parties get from authorities informing them of their new reality.


Challenges faced by journalists


The Norwegian Nobel Committee recognized the challenges Russian journalists face. When Dmitry Muratov, an editor at the independent news outlet Novaya Gazeta, was awarded the year’s peace prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee recognized the challenges faced by the Russian journalists. Every Friday, the Justice Ministry publishes a list of “foreign agents” on its website. About 90 organizations and people are on this list. This number has doubled over the last month, and now it features almost every major independent outlet. By using this label on the journalists, the two burdens are put on them. These are the disclaimer by law and quarterly financial report.


Vladimir Putin addresses the law
President Vladimir Putin addressed the law at a forum in Moscow on Wednesday, October 13, 2021, defending this foreign agent list. He said that this is just a routine act of bureaucracy, as the Foreign Agent Registration Act in the U.S.A. But this law is less aggressive than the law in the U.S.A.


Warning by Committee


The Committee to Protect Journalists had also warned that Russia would take it a step ahead and use its model of the registration act against the independent media outlets.
Russian journalists had hit with the label point out that there is no trial and burden on the state for providing the evidence, that a person or an organization in the registry ever received money from abroad.

About Priyanka Pandey 90 Articles
Priyanka Pandey is a woman of words who believes the pen is mightier than the sword. She wants to bring a change in her surroundings using the power of words. She is a bold content writer who wants to follow her passion for writing and get her works published under a renowned publishing firm's name. The current news topics, especially those related to politics, are her favorite.

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