Russian news outlet closing after being blocked by the national media watchdog


Moscow-Russian news agency Open Media announced Thursday that the watchdog will block most users’ websites, include them on the list of Internet pages engaged in “radical activity,” and then shut them down.

A news agency founded by Kremlin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky said on the Telegram channel that Watchdog had not been informed of the decision to ban the site.

Instead, the outlet said on Wednesday that it received several letters requesting that content that violates the law be removed from the site without displaying the content in question.

“With the investors, we have decided to stop working because it is too risky for the members of the project team,” Open Media said in a statement.

“Unfortunately, the authorities don’t need a media project to take a critical view of what’s happening in the country. The more important the project, the shorter its lifespan. But at least we tried . “

Communication watchdog Roskomnadzor said in an email that access to the outlet’s website was blocked at the request of the public prosecutor’s office.

In recent months, a number of investigative journalists have been banned in Russia as part of an expanded crackdown prior to the September parliamentary elections targeting media that are considered hostile and foreign-backed by authorities. It has been legalized.

Authorities last month named journalists at open media outlets and several other non-state outlets “foreign agents.”

The term has negative Soviet era implications and is subject to additional government oversight.

MBKh Media, also founded by Khodorkovsky, said it was blocked and closed by Watchdog to protect journalists and readers.

By Darya Korsunskaya and Maria Tsvetkova