In the midst of a crackdown, Putin is accused of launching a “orchestrated campaign” against “emotional” journalists.
Several Russian periodicals have urged VLADIMIR PUTIN to halt his crackdown on “foreign agent” media.
The crackdown, according to the media outlets, is undermining independent journalism in the country. The Kremlin dismissed the petition as hysterical and denied that it was suppressing the press. As the legislative elections in September approach, authorities have stepped up their attacks on independent media that they perceive as opposed to the government’s objectives.
TV Rain, as well as other renowned journalists, were recently added to the Kremlin’s “foreign agent” blacklist.
As a result, significant media sites such as Forbes Russia, Novaya Gazeta, and Meduza signed an open letter to Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday.
“We, Russian and Russian-language media journalists and editors, demand an immediate end to the official onslaught against the independent press,” it stated.
The status of “foreign agent,” according to the writers, “directly contradicts” the constitution, media regulations, and freedom of speech.
On its website, the Meduza news agency accused the Kremlin of waging a “orchestrated operation” to eliminate independent Russian media.
Or face fines, media businesses and journalists designated as “foreign agents” must reveal their funding sources and label all of their publications, including social media posts, with the tag.
The phrase has a bad connotation from the Soviet era, and it serves as a disincentive to potential advertisers, who provide a significant portion of the revenue that independent Russian media rely on to stay afloat.
At a press conference, Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, dismissed the concerns.
He told reporters that the designations demonstrated that the foreign agent statute was in effect.
He went on to say that it was necessary to defend Russia from foreign hostile forces meddling, and that journalists and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) can be easily influenced.
The phrase “foreign agent” was first used in 2012 to refer to non-governmental organizations.
After the Kremlin-funded RT (previously Russia Today) was declared a “foreign agent” in the United States, it was broadened to encompass media firms in 2017.