5 Apr 2022 19:27

Norwegian media group Amedia leaves Russia, hands over presses to Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief

MOSCOW. April 5 (Interfax) - The Norwegian media group Amedia is leaving Russia and is handing over full control over its four printing houses in Russia to the editor-in-chief of Novaya Gazeta, Dmitry Muratov.

In view of Russia's actions in Ukraine, the company does not consider it possible to continue its Russian operation, Amedia's website states. Novaya Gazeta was printed in one of the company's presses until the suspension of its work due to two warnings from the Russian regulator.

"The management of these [printing houses] will be transferred to Nobel Peace Prize laureate, journalist, and Editor Dmitry A. Muratov. He will exercise all shareholder rights at his own discretion and have full control of day-to-day operations," the website stated.

"We have considered various solutions for withdrawing from our Russian operations, with very limited room for maneuvering. We are confident this is the best possible solution given the prevailing circumstances. In this way, the printing houses will be able to continue being important for independent media in Russia in the future," Amedia's chairman Andre Stoylen said.

For his part, Muratov thanked Amedia for "this fantastic resource" and promised to take care of the printing houses and staff. Amedia's decision would support freedom of expression, he said.

Amedia has written off the value of the printing businesses in full (38 million Norwegian krones), with the proceeds from their future sale to be used to support independent media outlets in Russia.

Amedia said its Russian subsidiary fully owns the four presses and another two jointly with minority stakeholders. "Amedia is working on a solution with the minority shareholders in the last two printing companies, so that the group can withdraw completely from Russia," the statement said.

Amedia is Norway's second largest media company, whose assets include dozens of local newspapers, printing houses and a new agency, among others.

On March 28, Novaya Gazeta ceased to operate after receiving two warnings from Roskomnadzor, the Russian telecoms regulator, for referencing a media outlet without mentioning its foreign agent status. In a statement, Novaya Gazeta said it put its online and print publication on hold until the end of the special operation in Ukraine. The two written warnings could be used within 12 months as ground for a court order to strike the outlet off the register.