June 28, 2023

Undesirable News


Undesirable News
Photo of a printing machine. Bank Phrom, Unsplash.

The Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation has officially declared that Novaya Gazeta Europe, a Russian newspaper recognized for its independent and incisive reporting on political and social matters in Russia, is now an "undesirable" organization.

This declaration comes as a result of the Prosecutor General's Office's assessment, which it said highlights the publication's activities as a potential menace to both the fundamental pillars of Russia's constitutional framework and the overall security of the nation.

“The specified organization," the office declared, "carries out activities to create and distribute tendentious information materials to the detriment of the interests of the Russian Federation.”

The press service of the Prosecutor General's Office said that the decision to deem Novaya Gazeta Europe "undesirable" stems from the central subjects covered in the newspaper's articles, including “false information about alleged massive violations of the rights and freedoms of citizens in Russia, accusations of [Russia] unleashing an aggressive war in Ukraine, committing war crimes against civilians, [and] repressions.”

The agency additionally said that Novaya Gazeta Europe disseminates content from organizations considered "extremist" and "undesirable," such as FBK, The Insider, and Bellingcat.

Under Russian law, "undesirable organizations":

  • are forbidden from holding public events and from possessing or distributing promotional materials, including via mass media;
  • cannot have accounts in Russian banks or financial institutions, as the latter are forbidden from cooperating with them and are required to inform Russia's financial watchdog agency about all those that attempt to use them;
  • must disband if they are in Russia and given notice by prosecutors. Violators can face fines or prison terms of up to six years.
  • are a threat to any Russian citizen "cooperating with" such entities;
    • such cooperators are subject to fines, can be banned from entering Russia, and can face a maximum of six years in prison.

During the Russian invasion of Ukraine in March 2022, Novaya Gazeta halted publication in response to heightened government censorship. The following month, Novaya Gazeta Europe, a European edition of the newspaper, was established in Riga to evade censorship. However, its website was blocked in Russia by the end of that month.

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