Russia declares Moscow Times ‘undesirable’ for reporting on Ukraine war

Russia declares Moscow Times ‘undesirable’ for reporting on Ukraine war

Jul 11, 2024 12:03 PM IST

The designation exposes journalists and others linked to the publication to the risk of criminal prosecution in Russia and bans access to its reports.

Russia declared The Moscow Times an “undesirable organization” for its reporting on President Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine, deepening the Kremlin crackdown on independent journalism.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (AP)

The designation exposes journalists and others linked to the publication to the risk of criminal prosecution in Russia and bans access to its reports.

“Of course, we will continue with our work: independent journalism,” The Moscow Times’ founder Derk Sauer said on X, formerly Twitter, late Wednesday. “That’s a crime in Putin’s Russia.”

The Russian Prosecutor General’s Office said “systematic” reporting by the English-language publication “aimed at discrediting the activities of the government authorities of our country in conducting the special military operation,” the Kremlin’s phrase for its February 2022 invasion.

The Moscow Times moved its newsroom out of Russia shortly after the war began when lawmakers made it a criminal offense to “discredit” the military’s operations. Other media organizations including Bloomberg News also left Russia at that time, while continuing to report on the war and its consequences.

Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich is currently on trial in Russia accused of espionage after he was detained during a reporting trip in Yekaterinburg in March last year.

The Moscow Times was first published in Russia in 1992 following the collapse of the Soviet Union, and switched to an online-only outlet in 2017. Russia’s Justice Ministry labeled it a “foreign agent” last year.

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