22 Mar 2022 18:32

Roskomnadzor warns Novaya Gazeta over failure to use foreign agent NGO alert

MOSCOW. March 22 (Interfax) - Russia's Federal Communications watchdog (Roskomnadzor) has issued an official warning to Novaya Gazeta over the newspaper's website's failure to use the required marking when referring to a foreign agent nonprofit; the regulator also warned that several such warnings over a course of one year could result in the media outlet being forced to cease operations.

"On March 22 Roskomnadzor issued the Novaya Gazeta editors and founder with an official written warning about the unacceptability of a violation of Russian Federation legislation," the agency said in a statement obtained by Interfax.

According to Roskomnadzor, the e-periodical's website published material containing a reference to a nonprofit organization functioning as a foreign agent, without the marking as required by Russian laws, in breach of Article 4 of the Russian law "On mass media."

The agency demanded immediately that said material be edited in accordance with the law and to be notified accordingly.

"We note that under Article 16 of the Russian 'On mass media' law that repeated violations by a media outlet of the law and its having received relevant Roskomnadzor written warnings over a 12-month period for abuse of freedom of mass information constitute grounds for court-ordered shutdown of the outlet," Roskomnadzor said.

"Such markings aim to inform the audience that material disseminated by such media outlets pursues the interests of other states," it said.

On February 26 the regulator said it had written to ten Russian media outlets, including Novaya Gazeta, to demand that they take down fake stories about Russia's military action in Ukraine, which were now a subject of administrative inquiries that could result in fines of up five million rubles.

On March 4, after a law came into force penalizing "fake news" about Russian troops with up to 15 years' imprisonment, Novaya Gazeta deleted all previously published articles on Ukraine and said it will continue reporting, focusing on the consequences for Russia.