Hours after Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov was jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021, Russian authorities have begun branding other journalists and media organizations as “foreign agents” in an attempt to sidestep critics.
- Nine journalists and three media organizations were added to the “foreign agents” list
- Novaya Gazeta was one of the few independent newspapers that had avoided the label
- The Kremlin has denied that it is suffocating freedom of speech
Muratov and fellow journalist Maria Ressa from the Philippines won the award for their fight for freedom of speech.
Many in Russia had hoped the award would persuade Russian authorities to curb their sweeping attacks on independent media.
Instead, Russia’s Justice Ministry added a further nine journalists and three media organizations to the list of “foreign agents” – a label that carries strong pejorative connotations and involves increased government scrutiny.
They included journalists from Russian Dozhd independent television, The New Times news media, the BBC and the US-funded RFE / RL.
Bellingcat – a Dutch international organization known for its open source investigations into Russian military action in Ukraine and Syria and attacks on Kremlin’s opponents in Russia and abroad – was also added to the list in an apparent attempt to deter Russians from cooperating with it. .
Novaya Gazeta, of which Mr Muratov is co-founder and editor, is one of the few independent newspapers that has avoided the branded foreign agent.
Muratov said he would use the prize money to help Russian journalists facing reprisals.
The Kremlin has denied that it is suffocating freedom of expression and insists that the term does not prevent the media from working.
ABC / AP