Russia: Putin signs off law targeting journalists as 'foreign agents'

04 Décembre, 2019, 11:01 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
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Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a controversial law on Monday, allowing independent journalists and bloggers to be labelled as "foreign agents", a move that critics say will violate media freedom.

Under the new law, individuals getting funds from overseas can be marked as foreign agents.

Russian Federation passed the original "foreign agent" law - which requires all NGOs receiving foreign funding to register - in 2012 following the biggest wave of anti-government protests since Putin came to power.

Expanding its ambit raises concern that it could be used to target critical voices.

The move has been criticized by many in Russian Federation for restricting freedom of expression in the country even further and allowing the authorities to crack down on dissent. An worker of, say, the human rights group Memorial, or just the recipient of a relative's wire transfers from overseas, has exclusively to put up on Fb a hyperlink to a Radio Liberty story for the legislation to use.

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The invoice extends an existing law exciting foreign-funded media outlets.

RFE/RL President Jamie Fly said on November 21 that the law "invades" the lives and security of reporters and "is reminiscent of the darkest times in Russia's past".

The Russian Justice Ministry needs only to decide that other foreign media organizations are agents for numerous Russians, who work for them or share their stories, to become officially suspect - and marked as such for the tax bureaucracy, the police and the internet censorship agency that can block websites.

Foreign agent was a Soviet-era term of abuse for political dissidents.

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