New Round of Additions to Russia’s List of ‘Foreign Agents’ Is Direct Threat to Press Freedom
Last week's addition came just hours after Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov was named a recipient of the 2021 Nobel Peace Prize
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(New York, NY) — PEN America today condemned Russia’s government for adding yet more journalists and media outlets to its “foreign agents” list. PEN America today said the additions are part of an intensifying crackdown on a free press, as well as individual writers and journalists, imperiling press freedom across the country.
“The growing list of ‘foreign agents’ represents a systematic targeting of the independent press. The Russian authorities continue to silence dissenting voices and censor journalists,” said PEN America’s Eurasia director Polina Sadovskaya. “The most recent round of additions to the ‘foreign agent’ list should be a warning sign that this campaign of persecution has no end in sight. We call on the international community to speak up in defense of free speech in Russia.”
On October 8, Russian authorities registered nine individuals, including seven journalists and writers and three organizations, as “foreign agents.” Among those added to the list: Bellingcat, an investigative news outlet; and Caucasian Knot, an online media outlet. The journalists, whose names now appear in the registry, represent RFE/RL, Current Time, Dozhd, and BBC’s Russian Service. Poet and RFE/RL journalist Tatiana Voltskaya, who spoke up against injustice in Russia as a participant in the PEN World Voices Festival in 2020, is also among the newly-registered journalists and writers.
The new additions to the “foreign agents” list came hours after Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, won the Nobel Peace Prize for the efforts to “safeguard freedom of expression.”
Organizations officially listed on the register are obliged to present themselves as foreign agents, label their products on television, radio, and online, and must report to the Ministry of Justice about their activities and spending. News outlets previously targeted have seen their sponsorships wane and their ability to operate limited due to the negative implications of the designation.
PEN America monitors threats to free expression in Eurasia among artists, writers, and journalists. Read more about PEN America’s advocacy on the recent crackdown on investigative journalism in Russia.