Independent Russian media outlets launch online campaign opposing ‘foreign agents’ law
On Wednesday, September 8, independent Russian media outlets launched a solidarity campaign opposing the country’s law on “foreign agents,” under the slogan “There Are No Foreign Agents, There Are Journalists.”
Dozens of independent Russian media outlets joined the campaign, including Dozhd television (TV Rain), The Bell, Mediazona, Republic, Novaya Gazeta, iStories, Doxa, OVD-Info, and Meduza, among others.
The participating outlets published the campaign slogan on their websites, along with a note riffing on the “foreign agent” disclaimer that outlets with this status are required to include in all of their materials. The note reads: “This message (material) was created and (or) distributed by mass media performing the functions of mass media”
As of September 8, the list of “foreign agents” maintained by Russia’s Justice Ministry includes 47 individuals and organizations. Around two thirds of these entries have been included in the registry since April 2021.
In addition to those recent “foreign agent” designations, the investigative outlet Proekt was outlawed as an “undesirable organization.” The outlet was subsequently dissolved and its journalists launched a new media venture called Agenstvo (Agency).
As well, the news outlets Open Media and MBK Media (both linked to former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky) shut down after the Russian authorities blocked their websites. The business news outlet VTimes also closed after it was designated as “foreign agent.”
The online campaign was timed to coincide with the International Day of Journalists’ Solidarity, which has been observed since 1958.
The Russian authorities have been carrying out an unprecedented attack on the independent press for several months now. Meduza considers the law on “foreign agents” a violation of freedom of speech and a form of censorship. We demand that it be repealed.