UPDATED 1:54 PM PT – Monday, August 23, 2021
Russian police arrested several pro-media freedom protestors. Journalists took to Moscow’s Lubyanka Square on Saturday to protest the Justice Ministry’s addition of Rain TV and the investigative outlet Important Stories to the list of “foreign agents.”
Rain TV in particular extensively covered the poisoning and imprisonment of opposition leader Alexei Navlany. The “foreign agent” label comes with closer government scrutiny.
Democracies don’t poison opposition.
It’s been one year since Alexei #Navalny was stricken with a Novichok nerve agent, and rushed to Germany for treatment.
— Emily Haber (@GermanAmbUSA) August 20, 2021
“It’s absolutely an unconstitutional decision because we are doing journalism and journalism is not a crime,” journalist Yulia Krasnikova expressed. “The fact that we don’t want to write stories that other pro-government media do doesn’t mean that we violate something and that we are some ‘foreign agents.’”
Opponents of the Kremlin said the move aimed to inhibit independent journalism critical of Vladimir Putin’s government ahead of the next month’s parliamentary vote, which was one important for Putin to remain in power.