MOSCOW (AP) – US-funded Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty is calling on the European Court of Human Rights to prevent Russia from imposing fines that could cost the station millions of dollars.
Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor last year ordered broadcasters designated as foreign agents to add a detailed statement to news reports, social media posts and audiovisual materials stating that the content was created by a point of sale that “performed the functions of a foreign Agent perceives “.
The law, which applies to non-governmental political organizations and media receiving foreign funding, has been widely criticized for its aim to discredit critical reporting and dissent. The term “foreign agent” has a strong derogatory connotation in Russia.
Roskomnadzor has filed 390 infringement proceedings against RFE / RL since October and is expected to announce more on Friday. The broadcaster says the fines could amount to the equivalent of $ 2.4 million.
RFE / RL called on the Human Rights Court to order Russia not to enforce the fines until the court can make a full decision on Roskomnadzor’s actions, which the broadcaster claims violate the European Convention on Human Rights.
“We are confident that the European Court of Human Rights will see these measures by the Russian government for what they are: an attempt to suppress the freedom of expression and human rights of the Russian people,” said Jamie Fly, President of RFE / RL, in a statement Thursday.
Russia has recently stepped up measures apparently aimed at suppressing dissent. Criminal charges were filed this week against four editors of an online student magazine that posted a video calling for the release of imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny in connection with the January nationwide protests.
A court fined Twitter 8.9 million rubles, about $ 117,000, last week for not removing posts encouraging minors to participate in unauthorized protests.
The statement that Roskomnadzor instructed RFE / RL to rely on his material reads: “This report (material) was produced and (or) disseminated by a foreign mass medium that performed the functions of a foreign agent and (or) a Russian legal entity Person performs the functions of a foreign agent.
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