Russia calls media more “foreign agents” after journalist’s Nobel Prize

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MOSCOW – Russian authorities on Friday labeled nine other journalists and three media outlets as “foreign agents,” as part of efforts to brush aside criticism – hours after a Russian journalist won the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize.

Dmitry Muratov and his journalist colleague Maria Ressa from the Philippines won the prize for their fight for freedom of expression. Muratov, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, a leading independent newspaper in Russia, said he would use the prize money to help Russian journalists facing retaliation.

Many in Russia hoped that the award would persuade Russian authorities to slow down their sweeping crackdown on independent media, which included the nickname critical media and individual journalists as “foreign agents” – a label that carries strong derogatory overtones and involves oversight. increased government.

However, shortly after the announcement of the Nobel Peace Prize, the Russian Justice Ministry added nine more journalists and three entities to its lists of foreign agents.

They included journalists from Russian independent TV Dozhd, The New Times newspaper, the BBC and the US-funded RFE / RL, among others.

Bellingcat, an international organization based in the Netherlands known for its open source investigations into Russian military action in Ukraine and Syria and attacks on opponents of the Kremlin in Russia and abroad, has also been added to the list. in an apparent attempt to discourage the Russians from cooperating with it. .

The other two news outlets labeled as foreign agents on Friday were the Kavkazsky Uzel (Caucasian Node) which covers events in Russia’s volatile North Caucasus region and the online publication M.News.

The label “foreign agent” has been widely seen as part of the authorities’ efforts to silence critical voices. The Kremlin, however, has denied that it stifles free speech and insists the designation does not prevent the media from functioning.

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