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No strong feelings The Kremlin’s spokesman comments on Meduza’s ‘foreign agent’ designation
During his daily press briefing on Wednesday, April 28, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov answered journalists’ questions about Meduza being designated as a “foreign agent.” Reiterating his previous statements about the Justice Ministry making a “legal decision,” Peskov said that the Kremlin has no interest in getting to the bottom of why Meduza was labeled a “foreign agent,” and is more concerned with enforcement of the law. He also said that given today’s media market, the loss of any given news outlet “wouldn’t be felt strongly.”
Ekho Moskvy: Meduza’s editor-in-chief wrote a text stating that the publication is on the verge of a very difficult decision. It’s possible that he was referring to it shutting down. Tell me, if this happens, will the president, or you yourself, miss this media outlet as a source of information?
Dmitry Peskov: Listen, we treat every media outlet with deep respect. We value the professionalism of the journalists at every media outlet. But the modern information market is built in such a way that the disappearance of any media outlet wouldn’t be felt strongly. Let’s speak frankly.
Meduza: You said already that the Justice Ministry made a “legal decision” regarding Meduza. Do you have any idea why Meduza was designated as a “foreign agent”? Will the Kremlin ask the Justice Ministry for clarification or is it accepting this decision on faith?
Dmitry Peskov: No. We have taken note of the Justice Ministry’s decision. It has been implemented. And you as a media outlet [should] understand that there are no restrictions on your activity. There is no ban on your activity. You can continue your activity and you have the right to ask the Justice Ministry for its reasoning.
Meduza: Does the Kremlin associate Meduza’s designation as a “foreign agent” with some unfriendly actions [on the part] of Latvia, where our editorial office is located? Does the Kremlin understand that Meduza is a private company that isn’t associated with any state?
Dmitry Peskov: Well, we understand that this isn’t a Russian media outlet. It’s a Russian-language media outlet.
Meduza: But we [Meduza in Russian] work exclusively for a Russian audience.
Dmitry Peskov: Well I understand. But listen, Radio Free Europe also works for a Russian audience. But they have nothing to do with the Russian Federation.
Meduza: In saying that this is a “legal decision,” is the Kremlin saying that it’s not interested in the essence of the problem and that the bureaucratic enforcement of the law is much more important?
Dmitry Peskov: Well, yes, I reckon so. I agree with you.
Abridged translation by Eilish Hart
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