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Russia Labels More Journalists as ‘Foreign Agents’

The foreign agent media list continues to expand as Russia cracks down on press freedoms. Russian authorities have added more journalists to their “foreign agents” list as a tactic to restrict their reporting.

According to the foreign agent laws in Russia, a foreign agent is anyone who receives “support” from outside Russia or is being “influenced” by someone or an entity outside of Russia. The law was originally passed in 2012 but has since expanded to impose more restrictions and make more people eligible to be deemed a foreign agent.

Foreign agents have to regularly submit detailed reports of their activities and expenses to authorities and acknowledge their status whenever they produce and publish new content (with the exception of social media or personal blogs). Noncompliance can result in fines or prison time. Many people or members of organizations placed on the list have had to leave the country in fear of their safety.

Now included on the list is Nobel laureate Dmitry Muratov, who is the editor-in-chief of independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta. Other notable additions include Denis Kataev, a journalist exiled with news organization Dozhd TV and Ksenia Larina a journalist with The Insider. Both are currently living outside of Russia.

Muratov announced that he is planning to contest this and will file a lawsuit against the Russian Ministry of Justice.

Muratov is well known for his investigative journalism and criticism of the Kremlin and other Russian authorities. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Muratov placed his Nobel medal up for auction and pledged the $103.5 million in proceeds to aid refugee children.

"The history of independent journalism is over, [it's] finished," Muratov said at the start of Hamburg Press Freedom Week.

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