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Media Foreign Agents Bill Brought to Russian Duma

Published: May 31, 2014 (Issue # 1813)



  • A bill widening the "foreign agent" net to include any news outlet that receives more than 25 percent of its funding from abroad and engages in political activities was registered in the Duma.
    Photo: Vedomosti

A bill registered with the Russian State Duma aims to force media outlets with funding from abroad to register as foreign agents.

The proposed law follows similar legislation aimed at non-government organizations enacted in 2012. That law has been widely condemned by human rights organizations, with Amnesty International describing it as "the Russian government's assault on independent civil society."

A bill widening the "foreign agent" net to include any news outlet that receives more than 25 percent of its funding from abroad and engages in political activities was registered in the Duma on Thursday by a group of lawmakers that includes the Liberal Democrat Mikhail Degtaryov and United Russia's Yevgeny Fyodorov.

A similar measure was previously submitted in late 2012 with a threshold of 50 percent foreign funding. The bills authors' withdrew that project in January 2014, however, and said they would lower the figure in response to Ukraine's political crisis, which they blamed on foreign-funded media.

Following the introduction of the foreign agent law for NGOs in 2012, many organizations receiving foreign funding have refused to register with the Justice Ministry as foreign agents, a term often used during the Cold War to target dissenters, and fought the classification in court.

On Wednesday, Russia's upper house of parliament approved amendments to the law that would allow the Justice Ministry to include organizations on the foreign agents register without a court order.

A date for the media foreign agent bill's first reading has not yet been set.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in “Downton Abbey” if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russia’s best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russia’s most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkin’s, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontov’s short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library System’s website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Club’s weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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