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'Foreign Agent' Watch

RFE/RL's bureau in Moscow.


An amended law on "foreign agents" signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on December 2, 2019 ratchets up pressure on the hundreds of correspondents working for RFE/RL in Russia who are too often the only source of reliable information in their remote regions, and who provide one of the few alternatives to Kremlin-controlled news.

RFE/RL's ‘Foreign Agent’ Watch is monitoring the law’s implementation, and its impact on media independence and journalists’ security in Russia.

Statement, 12/3/2019

OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Désir expressed his concerns regarding Russia’s “foreign agent” law, which extends the status of a “foreign agent” to private individuals, and introduces new restrictions on the distribution of information from media outlets categorized as “foreign agents.” Désir said “This law will restrict the access to information and the dissemination of information," adding that it "represents a dangerous regulatory practice, which narrows the space for freedom of expression, freedom of the media and free flow of information in the Russian Federation."

Statement, 12/4/2019

Russian 'Foreign Agent' Law Targets Journalists And Threatens Isolation

RFE/RL President Jamie Fly condemned the law, saying it targets the work and jeopardizes the security of the company’s journalists, and is “an attempt to silence them and deprive Russian citizens of their right to seek reliable information.”

Nine RFE/RL projects in Russia have been designated by Russia’s Justice Ministry as “foreign mass media outlets” performing functions of a “foreign agent.” They are:

Radio Free Europe/Radio Freedom,
Current Time TV,
Татаро-башкирская служба Радио Свобода (Azatliq Radiosi), / Tatar-Bashkir service of Radio Liberty

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