A disputed law has been signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin under which independent journalists and bloggers can be declared as foreign agents. Critics have termed the move a violation of media freedom. This Russian law empowers officials to declare brand media organizations and NGOs as foreign agents.
According to a document published on the Russian government website, this new law will come into force with immediate effect. Foreign agents are called those who are involved in politics and receive money from abroad. On proving this, they will have to submit a detailed document or pay a fine.
9 human rights NGOs including Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders have expressed concern that the law is not only limited to journalists but will also apply to bloggers and internet consumers who receive scholarships, funding or revenue from various media outlets. Apart from this, Russia said that it wanted this law so that if its journalists in Western countries were told to be foreign agents, then they also do tit for tat. Russia passed this law for the first time in 2017 when the Kremlin-funded RT Television was declared a foreign agent in the US.