The media received a first warning on March 22, then a second. The Russian Independent Newspaper Novaya Gazeta announced on Monday March 28 the suspension of its online and print publications until the end of “military operation” in Ukraine. This decision comes as the Russian power increases its pressure against critical voices.
In a statement published on the newspaper’s website, the editor-in-chief, Dmitry Muratov, who received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021, explains that he took this step after receiving a second warning from the Federal Telecommunications Supervisory Service (Roskomnadzor ) for breaching a controversial “foreign agents” law. ” There is no other solution. For us, and I know for you, this is a terrible and painful decision. But we have to protect each other.”wrote Mr. Muratov, in a letter addressed to the readers of the newspaper.
Specifically, it is blamed on Novaya Gazeta for not having specified that an NGO mentioned in one of its articles was qualified as a “foreign agent” by the Russian authorities, as required by law.
Many blocked media
The authorities have passed several laws repressing heavy prison sentences, which they consider to be ” fake news “ on the conflict in Ukraine. The law on “foreign agents” is another weapon used by the authorities against organizations or individuals critical of the Kremlin.
Those who are described as “foreign agents” are required to present themselves as such in all their publications, including on social networks. And, each time, the media that mention them must also specify it.
Prosecutions for breach of this law can have serious consequences. In December, Russia’s most respected NGO, Memorial, which was labeled a “foreign agent”, was banned for forgetting to state this status in certain publications.
Since the start of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia on February 24, the sites of many Russian and foreign media have been blocked. Novaya Gazeta was the last stronghold of the free press still in operation in Russia.
Founded in 1993, Novaya Gazeta enjoys a high reputation for its investigations into corruption and human rights abuses in Chechnya. This commitment cost the lives of six of its collaborators, including the famous journalist Anna Politkovskaïa, assassinated in 2006.