Reporters Without Borders warned of the “gradual disappearance” of independent media in Russia and called on President Vladimir Putin to repeal the so-called Foreign Agents Act.
In a statement issued Wednesday, the Paris-based media observer said: ““Only a handful of independent media outlets are able to survive the growing pressure from the authorities.”
He mentioned the closure of the VTimes news portal and the danger to other media, such as Medusa.
“The gradual disappearance of media independent of the Russian media landscape and the recent acceleration of this process are very worrying things.”– said Jeanne Cavelier, Head of Reporters Without Borders for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.
“We call on Vladimir Putin and the Russian Ministry of Justice to immediately repeal the Foreign Agents Act, which is undermining media pluralism by suppressing independent media and slowly killing them.”Said Cavelier.
The law on foreign agents in Russia was adopted in 2012 and has been repeatedly amended.
He demands that NGOs receiving foreign aid, which the Russian government considers to be involved in political activities, register, identify themselves as “foreign agents” and be audited.
The latest modifications also affect foreign-funded media, including numerous Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty services and individual journalists.
Reporters Without Borders cited the case of Russian Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty journalists Lyudmila Savitskaya and Sergei Markelov, who were among the first to be asked to register as “foreign agents”.
The organization also mentioned the freezing of the accounts of Radio Free Europe in Russia, due to the refusal to respect the law.
REL has described the fines as a “state-sponsored campaign of intimidation and intimidation”.
Labeling as “foreign agents” has been interpreted by many civil society activists as a means by the Kremlin to intimidate Russia’s political opposition.