Russia To Label Journalists As Foreign Agents Under New Law

The new law signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin will come into effect immediately according to a document published on the Russian government website

Foreign agents, defined as involved in politics and receiving money from overseas, must register with the justice ministry, label publications with the tag and submit detailed paperwork or face fines.

The law was intimated in 2017 as a mirror response to the USA decision to announce Kremlin-backed television channel RT as a foreign agent.

Russian Federation can now designate independent journalists and bloggers as foreign agents after amending a controversial law.

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

Several rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, had called for the initiative to be dropped as it was being approved by lawmakers.

The law would represent "a disproportionate interference in the freedom of expression and media freedom", Harlem D├ęsir, the representative on freedom of the media for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said in a statement last month.

Failure to register, open an organization or mark one's tales or posts as coming from a overseas agent can be punishable by a yet-undetermined tremendous. "We are capable of getting results with administrative measures".

The term foreign agent was used negatively during the Stalinist era in the 1970s and 1980s for opponents accused of being paid by the West. Individuals registered as foreign agents will be subject to additional government scrutiny.

Butina, for example, was sentenced to 18 months for trying to establish contacts with Republican operatives and National Rifle Association members on behalf of a Russian Central Bank official who may have wanted to set up a back channel between the Kremlin and the Republican elite in the U.S.

Putin was aggravated by the Butina case. Additionally as typical beneath Putin, the response is asymmetrical.

In the US, an agent must do things at the behest of a foreign official. In Russia, it's sufficient to obtain cash from any overseas supply and to unfold undesirable content material to be branded an agent - a authorized novelty that Russian constitutional lawyer Ilya Shablinsky condemned in his evaluation of the brand new legislation. This is not a virtuous cycle.

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