Prague-Based Media Group Faces Fine For Not Observing Requirements Of Russia's 'Foreign Agent' Law

By Caucasus.Realities

PRAGUE -- The Prague-based MEDIUM-ORIENT news agency is facing a fine in Russia for its alleged failure to follow the requirements of Russia's controversial "foreign agent" law.

Islam Tekushev, the editor in chief of the online Caucasus Times journal founded by MEDIUM-ORIENT, told RFE/RL on October 25 that Russia's media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, had filed a protocol against the media group for violating the law on foreign agents.

Roskomnadzor accuses MEDIUM-ORIENT of refusing to mark online materials by the Caucasus Times as products of an organization that meets the criteria of a "foreign agent."

Roskomnadzor added the media group, which is registered in the Czech Republic, to the list of foreign agents in December.

The fine for refusing to add such designations to media products could amount to as much as 500,000 rubles ($7,140) for companies and organizations.

Russia's “foreign agent” legislation was adopted in 2012 and has been modified repeatedly.

It requires nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign assistance and are deemed by the government to engage in political activity to be registered, to identify themselves as “foreign agents,” and to submit to audits.

Later modifications of the law targeted foreign-funded media.

In 2017, the Russian government added RFE/RL's Russian Service, six other RFE/RL Russian-language news services, and Current Time to the list.

At the end of 2020, the legislation was modified to allow the Russian government to place individuals, including foreign journalists, on its “foreign agents” media list and impose restrictions on them.

Several RFE/RL journalists have since been added to the list.