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IRIS 2018-1:1/40

Russian Federation

Media as “foreign agents”

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Andrei Richter

Catholic University in Ružomberok (Slovakia)

On 25 November 2017, President Vladimir Putin signed into law an amendment to the Statute on the mass media that expands the scope of its Article 6. It now allows the Ministry of Justice to apply to media outlets applicable provisions on foreign agents of the law on non-commercial organisations. Media outlets may be required to label themselves as those performing as foreign agents if they “receive funds and/or property from foreign states, their public entities, international or foreign organisations, foreign citizens, non-citizens or persons empowered by them, and/or Russian legal entities that receive funds and/or property from such sources.” Their activities shall then be restricted or controlled in accordance with the federal law on non-commercial organisations.

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, expressed his concern about a series of measures by the United States of America and the Russian Federation requiring media entities from other countries to register themselves as “foreign agents”.

The new statute entered into force on 25 November 2017.

О внесении изменений в статьи 104 и 153 Федерального закона «Об информации, информационных технологиях и о защите информации» и статью 6 Закона Российской Федерации «О средствах массовой информации» RU
  Federal Statute of 25 November 2017 N 327-FZ “On amendments to articles 104 and 153 of the Federal Statute on information, information technologies and protection of information and article 6 of the Statute of the Russian Federation on the mass media”      
Registration of media as "foreign agents" not acceptable says OSCE media freedom representative. Press statement. Vienna, 16 November 2017 EN