Russia has outlawed Meduza
The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office designated Meduza as an illegal, “undesirable organization” on Thursday, January 26. Officials announced in a public statement that Meduza’s activities “pose a threat to the foundations of the Russian Federation’s constitutional order and national security.” The decision applies specifically to SIA “Medusa Project,” the legal entity responsible for the news reporting you are reading right now.
“Undesirable organizations” are banned from operating on Russian territory under threat of felony prosecution. Russian officials previously designated Meduza as a “foreign agent,” making it impossible for our newsroom to earn money from traditional advertising. Meduza subsequently shifted to a crowdfunding model, which pivoted from Russian to international support after the February 2022 invasion of Ukraine.
Russia has been banning “undesirable organizations” since 2015, when lawmakers granted the Prosecutor General’s Office the power to assign this status to any foreign or international non-governmental organization that allegedly threatens Russia’s “constitutional-order foundations” or national security. Anyone who “participates or cooperates” with such groups can face felony prosecution — an especially serious limitation for journalists who must speak to sources to report the news.