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One Russia MP Proposes Bill Branding Some Media Outlets 'Foreign Agents'

Duma Session file photo
file photo
Moscow, 18 July: A bill obliging Russian media outlets to declare if they are funded or receive grants from abroad has been submitted to the State Duma on Wednesday (18 July), the author of the relevant amendments to the federal law on mass media and a member of the One Russia (United Russia) faction, Yevgeniy Fedorov, has told Interfax.

"This draft bill has been submitted in continuation of the work that we started by passing the law on non-commercial organizations - 'foreign agents'," Fedorov said.

According to him, the decision to essentially extend the provisions applicable to non-commercial organizations to mass media outlets is due to the realization that in the political space of the country "there is manipulation not only through non-commercial organizations but also - and perhaps even to a greater extent - through the mass media, with the help of foreign money".

In this connection, the author of the draft bill stressed, it would be helpful to indicate that a mass media outlet is funded from abroad, receives foreign grants. "This is a matter of informing rather than banning," the deputy said.

He said that One Russia deputies had studied this problem. "According to our information, thousands of Russian publications, especially in regions, receive money from abroad," Fedorov said.

He drew attention to the fact that this money "works" during election campaigns too, especially in constituent parts of the Russian Federation when, for example, a governor is being elected. It is proposed that if a publication is funded from abroad, the publisher's imprint must contain a reference to these sources of funding.

When asked whether the faction supported the draft bill that essentially gives some Russian mass media outlets the status of a "foreign agent", Fedorov said that the faction had not discussed the issue but many One Russia deputies, for example Ilya Kostunov and Vladimir Burmatov, actively supported the idea of the draft bill. Moreover, the need for this law has been under discussion for a long time - "we have spent three months to draft this bill," he said.

(Opposition politician Boris Nemtsov has described the draft bill as another step toward an authoritarian rule in Russia, Interfax reported at 1319 gmt.

"All these decisions are bringing us closer to the authoritarian regimes established in some former Soviet countries after the collapse of the Soviet Union. We are already close to them, they are not far away," Nemtsov said. The authorities want "to create a hysteria in society to damp down the protest wave by the autumn," he added.)

Keywords: Russia, Media, Internet - Russian News - Russia - Johnson's Russia List

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