Ministry of Justice to register media as foreign agents, Putin states
The document was published on December 4 on the official portal of legal information.
President Vladimir Putin signed a decree authorizing the Ministry of Justice to maintain a register of media that received the status of ‘foreign agents’. The document was published on December 4 on the official portal of legal information.
According to the decree, the Ministry maintains a register of "non-profit organizations performing the functions of a foreign agent, takes decisions on including or excluding non-profit organizations from it and maintains a register of foreign mass media fulfilling the functions of a foreign agent, including taking decisions on including it or the exclusion of foreign media out of it."
Amendments on ‘foreign agents’ in the media were promptly added to the draft law on pre-trial blocking of websites of non-profit organizations recognized in Russia as "undesirable". The reason for the initiative was the demand of the American authorities to the Russia Today TV channel to register as a ‘foreign agent’ in the United States. On November 13 RT performed it.
The bill allows the Ministry of Justice to recognize a "legal entity registered in a foreign country or a foreign structure without the formation of a legal entity" as a ‘foreign agent’, if they disseminate information materials "for an unlimited number of persons". The reason for inclusion in the register may be that the edition receives money or property from foreign states or organizations.
On November 15, the State Duma passed a bill on assigning the status of ‘foreign agents’ to the media, and on November 22 it was approved by the Federation Council. On November 25, the President signed the law.
The Justice Ministry has already named nine ‘candidates’ for inclusion in the list of ‘foreign agents': it is the Voice of America, Radio Svoboda and its projects, as well as the Nastoyashee Vremya (Real Time) television channel.
The prosecutors want the former Russian Federation Council member to go to prison for 14 years instead of 9 and pay a 500-million-ruble ($8.8 million) fine instead of 70 million rubles ($1.2 million).