Week-ending 29 January 2021
On 27 January 2021 a court fined several of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Russian-language projects and its general director a total of 1.1 million roubles ($14,500) for failing to comply with new restrictions under the country’s ‘foreign agent’ law. Roskomnadzor stated that RFE/RL was guilty of “noncompliance by the media performing the functions of a foreign agent with the requirements of the law on labeling information disseminated by them.” President Putin signed Federal Law No. 327-FZ ‘On introducing amendments to articles 10-4 and 15-3 of the federal law ‘On Information, Information Technololgies and on Protection of Information’ and Article six of the Law of the Russian Federation ‘On Mass Media’ into force on 25 November 2017. Under his law, media receiving funding from abroad can be designated as ‘foreign agents.’
‘Федеральный закон “О внесении изменений в статьи 10.4 и 15.3 Федерального закона “Об информации, информационных технологиях и о защите информации” и статью 6 Закона Российской Федерации “О средствах массовой информации” от 25.11.2017 N 327-ФЗ (последняя редакция)’, KonsultantPlus
RFE/RL, 27 January 2021: A Russian court has fined several of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Russian-language projects and its general director a total of 1.1 million rubles ($14,500) for failing to comply with new restrictions under the country’s “foreign agent” law. The Tverskoi District Court in Moscow on January 27 ruled in favor of four administrative protocols submitted by Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor “for noncompliance by the media performing the functions of a foreign agent with the requirements of the law on labeling information disseminated by them.” RFE/RL was fined 1 million rubles by the court, while the general director of the services was fined 100,000 rubles. On January 12, Roskomnadzor submitted a total of eight protocols that target four of RFE/RL’s Russian-language projects — its main service for Russia, Radio Liberty; the Current Time TV and digital network; and Siberia Realities (Sibir.Realii) and Idel Realities (Idel.Realii), two regional sites delivering local news and information to audiences in Siberia and the Volga-Urals.
In other news this week:
RSF, 30 January 2021: Russian journalists are being subjected to “preventive visits” and searches of their homes – and some others to criminal proceedings – ahead of a second round of demonstrations in support of jailed Kremlin opponent Alexei Navalny tomorrow. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns these serious press freedom violations and urges the authorities to end the wave of harassment of the media that began after Navalny’s return to Russia on 17 January. In the wake of the pro-Navalny demonstrations on 23 January, police searched the home of Sergei Smirnov, the editor of Mediazona, a leading online source of reporting on police and judicial abuses, on 27 January and confiscated the hard disk of his computer.
The Moscow Time: Russia will fine seven social media companies for not removing pro-Navalny videos ahead of last Saturday’s nationwide protests, the country’s communications regulator said Wednesday. “Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, VKontakte, Odnoklassniki and YouTube will be fined for non-compliance with requirements to prevent the dissemination of calls to minors to participate in unauthorized rallies,” Roskomnadzor said in a statement published on its website. Videos in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny had racked up hundreds of millions of views on social media following his arrest and publication of a widely viewed investigation into a $1.4-billion Black Sea palace allegedly built for President Vladimir Putin. Large numbers of videos featured young Russians talking about their plans to protest and offering advice to first-time protesters on how to behave at an unsanctioned rally.