Russia Issues Deadline to U.S.-Funded Radio Over Fines

Russia’s media watchdog on Wednesday advised US-funded Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe it had 60 days to pay more than $70,000 in penalties over non-compliance with its “international agent” regulation.

The declaration followed U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday shared support for Radio Liberty/ Radio Free Europe (RFE/RL) and also other U.S. global media.

Moscow had actually imposed “invasive labelling demands and penalties” to “drive RFE/RL out of Russia,” said a State Department declaration.

Individuals or groups recognized as “international representatives” in Russia have to divulge their resources of funding and label magazines with the pertinent tag or face fines.

State media regulator Roskomnadzor said it had actually created a total of 390 protocols against Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe– ruled a foreign representative in 2017– and its supervisor for failing to label nine of its internet sites operating in Russia.

Jamie Fly, the president of RFE/RL, knocked the penalties as “illegitimate” and claimed they were targeted at muzzling the broadcaster.

” RFE/RL is being targeted by the Russian authorities due to the fact that we remain to give an expanding target market in Russia with unbiased information and details at a moment when the Kremlin is trying to restrict the Russian individuals’s access to information,” Fly claimed in a statement in reaction to AFP.

” We will certainly not desert our audience despite the amount of invalid fines the Russian authorities trouble us,” he included. “We will continue to deal with these attacks on our journalistic self-reliance through all possible means.”

A Russian court had actually ordered the broadcaster to pay 71.5 million rubles ($ 925,000) in penalties after considering 260 of the protocols.

The charge, however, was lowered on appeal to 5.5 million rubles ($ 71,000), according to Roskomnadzor, which claimed RFE/RL currently has 60 days to pay or face being shut down in Russia.

Last month, Reporters Without Borders defined the charge as “the heaviest penalties ever imposed on a media electrical outlet in Russia.”

The media rights guard dog added: “The absurd law requiring this self-labelling breaks media pluralism and also is created to silence independent and opposition media.”

Legislation allowing authorities to brand companies with the term “foreign representative” was initially passed in 2012 to cover NGOs.

It was expanded to include media organizations in 2017 after Kremlin-funded RT (formerly Russia Today) was declared a foreign representative in the United States.

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