The Russian authorities will tighten their stranglehold on press freedom in the country today by introducing a bill that designates foreign-funded news organizations as “foreign agents” and imposes onerous obligations to declare full details of their funding, finances and staffing, said Amnesty International.
The move is likely to effect the Russian services of major international media outlets such as the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, as well as the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta. All political parties represented in the State Duma, the Russian Parliament’s lower chamber, have expressed their support of the bill and are expected to pass it unanimously as early as Wednesday.
“This legislation strikes a serious blow to what was already a fairly desperate situation for press freedom in Russia. Over the last couple of years, the Kremlin has been tirelessly building a media echo chamber that shuts out critical voices, both inside Russia and from abroad,” said Denis Krivosheev, Deputy Director for Europe and Central Asia at Amnesty International.