Russia: Putin signs off law targeting journalists as 'foreign agents'

Vladimir Putin speaks during an annual VTB Capital

Vladimir Putin, the Russian president, has signed into law an amendment that could require bloggers and independent journalists to register as foreign agents, a move that rights activists say poses a threat to independent journalism.

The new law gives the authorities the power to label reporters who work for organizations officially listed as "foreign agents" as foreign agents themselves. The law, quickly passed by parliament and signed by President Vladimir Putin, comes a little more than a month after Maria Butina, the gun advocate convicted in the US, returned to Moscow after spending 15 months in a USA prison for acting as an unregistered foreign agent.

Expanding its ambit raises concern that it could be used to target critical voices.

Foreign agents are those who are involved in politics and receive money from overseas.


Nine human rights groups, including Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International, had called for the legislation to be dropped as it was being approved by lawmakers.

Moscow claims the law is a response to a decision by the USA government to require Russia's state-funded channel RT, to register its U.S. operating unit under the Foreign Agents Registration Act. The law, which goes into effect on July 1, 2020, is also viewed by some as a way for the Russian government to use pre-installed apps as a way to spy on its citizens.

Moreover, the law envisages fines varying from 2 to 6 million rubles for repeated refusal of legal entities to hand over encryption keys to the Federal Security Service (FSB).

Foreign agent was a Soviet-era term of abuse for political dissidents.

Related:

Comments

Latest news

Football Moment that Left us Speech-Less.
With an 11- 0 score at the end of the game, Germany started the Shanghai Women’s World Cup with a world record win. Women’s World Cup 2007 Germanys women’s team opened the World Cup with a bang against Argentina.

Jeremy Corbyn 'very sorry' over Labour party anti-Semitism
Labour , led by Jeremy Corbyn , says Johnson desires to promote elements of the publicly funded system to U.S. corporations. Schofield: "Here is your opportunity now to apologise to the Jewish community for any anti-Semitism by Labour members".

Wings Awarded: SLt Shivangi - Indian Navy’s first female aviator
There are additionally two different ladies who're set to develop into navy pilots on December 21. "Shivangi will graduate to become the First female Pilot of Indian Navy ".

Vikings RB Dalvin Cook suffers right shoulder injury vs. Seahawks
It marked only the fourth time since Zimmer's arrival that an opponent has rushed for 200 yards against the Vikings . However, the Vikings seemingly went away from everything that has made them successful on offense thus far.

London’s Medical Startups Challenge Welcomes a New Judge, Max Polyakov
MBios is a joint project of Innovation House and the Ukrainian Medical Association of the United Kingdom (UMAUK). Such kind of challenges provides the participants with an opportunity to present their projects to the world.

Other news