Foreign agent TV channel detained by Russian police
On Saturday, protesters held protests outside the country’s main domestic security agency Russian police arrested many journalists who demonstrated the decision of the authorities to classify a leading independent television program as a “foreign agent.”
The journalists kept separate pickets on Lubyanka Square in Moscow outside the head office of the country’s leading domestic security agency, the FSB.
They hoisted posters like “Journalism is not Crime” and “You fear the truth” protesting the proposal by the ministry of Justice to include Dozhd (Rain) TV and Vazhnye Istorii (Important Stories) into the “Foreign Agent” list on Friday.
Those detained have been summoned to attend court hearings on charges of violation of picket holders’ rules, a fine of up to US$270.
Farida Rustamova, a Dozhd journalist who picked up the picketed on Saturday, said that “I am against labeling Dozhd as a ‘foreign agency.” “I want to work and live in Russia freely. I want a chance to be a free journalist. I don’t want to arrest, search and designate my fellow-members as a ‘enemy of the people’ or ‘agents.’ “‘ ‘
Yulia Krasnikova, Vazhnye Istorii journalist, criticized an unconstitutional move by the authorities.
“It does not mean that we are violated and that we are ‘foreign agents,’ since we do not wish to write stuff other pro-government media have done,” said Krasnikova. “I’m here to protest and support my fellow members.”
Critical channel of Putin’s arrest
The Ministry of Justice has acted under legislation to classify non-governmental organizations to be “foreign agents” and persons receiving financing from overseas and participating in activities which are freely defined as political.
The designation suggests closer inspection by the government and is highly derogatory, which could erode the credibility of the media outlets and damage their publicity possibilities.
Dozhd condemned the move to be unfair and called for it.
The television network strongly criticized Russia’s repression of dissent and routinely broadcast live broadcasts from opposition protests.
It covered extensively the poisoning and imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, Russian opposition leader, Putin’s highest profile adversary, and criminal proceedings against Navalnya’s associates.
In the run-up to the September 19 parliamentary vote, Russian authorities put pressure on the opposition and Independent Media, largely considered a crucial component of Putin’s efforts to strengthen his domination prior to the presidential election in Russia in 2024.