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Party Wants to Label Media as Foreign Agent

Published: July 18, 2012 (Issue # 1718)


MOSCOW United Russia wants to label media outlets financed from abroad as foreign agents and to gain the power to oust lawmakers without a court ruling, news reports said Monday.

The proposed crackdowns follow a week in which United Russia led efforts in the State Duma to pass legislation that brands politically active NGOs that receive money from abroad as foreign agents and drastically increases fines in defamation cases.

Dmitry Gudkov, a senior Duma deputy with A Just Russia, called the latest proposed measures a continuation of this repressive policy.

This will not stop anything but will breed more hatred, Gudkov said by phone.

The Duma may consider in the fall a bill that would brand as foreign agents media outlets that receive more than 50 percent of their financing from abroad, Izvestia reported Monday, citing United Russia Deputies Vladimir Burmatov and Ilya Kostunov as its sources.

Many media receive financing from abroad and act as a mouthpiece for a foreign government, Kostunov told the daily.

But Mikhail Fedotov, head of the Kremlins human rights council and a lawyer by training, called the bill about foreign-financed media pointless, saying that the countrys mass media law, which he co-authored, already bans media outlets from receiving more than 50 percent of their financing from abroad.

Making the financing of all the media transparent would be the right thing to do, but this has not been proposed, Fedotov said by phone.

Pavel Gutiontov, secretary of the Union of Journalists of Russia, decried the measure as pure propaganda and an insult to some news outlets.

He also said he didnt understand why the Dumas recently approved NGO bill labels some foreign-financed NGOs as foreign agents but makes an exception for state organizations that are financed from abroad, noting that he was more concerned as a taxpayer about what the national budget was spent on, including in the field of mass media.

Meanwhile, a senior Duma source told Vedomosti in an article published Monday that parliament might consider a bill in the fall that would allow United Russias majority in the lower chamber to strip lawmakers of their mandates without a court ruling for a variety of offenses.

Grounds for such punishment could include making comments to media outlets that are deemed to discredit parliament or disparage state authorities; receiving citations by the ethics committee for persistently skipping Duma sessions; failing to publish income declarations; or using diplomatic passports for personal trips abroad.

Gudkov said the measure would violate the Constitution. It is not they [United Russia] who gave us mandates but the people, while United Russia only stole mandates, he said, referring to Decembers disputed Duma elections.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Thursday, July 24


Liliana Modiliani, a well-known Russian stylist, will talk about choosing clothes that fit during her lecture at 7 p.m. at the Pryamoy Efir art club, 13 Viborgskoe Shosse.



Friday, July 25


Discuss Russias economic and political prospects for 2014 during a Business Breakfast organized by SPIBA at 9.30 a.m. in the Bank Saint-Petersburg office at 64


Malookhtinsky Prospekt.


Start your weekend with adorable miniature pigs at the Squealing Pig festival at 7 p.m. this evening in the Karl & Friedrich restaurant, 15 Iozhnaya doroga, on Krestovsky Island.



Saturday, July 26


Hundreds of brand-new and retro cars, drag and drift shows, test drives and karting are planned for the Avtobum-2014 festival, which will take place in front of the RIO shopping center at 2 Fuchika Ulitsa.


Participants in todays SaniDay Summer competition will impress visitors with their hand-made, unusual and hilarious boats, which will race at the Igora Resort near the 54th kilometer on Priozerskoe Shosse.


Metro Family Day will include both serious lectures for adults and master-classes for children, making the event interesting for the whole family. To participate, come to Kirov Park on Yelagin Island.


Photography will be the focus of todays Photosubbota, which features lectures by famous photographers, meetings with photo schools and studio representatives, and participation in a photography competition. The event starts at noon at Petrokongress, 5 Lodeynopolskaya Ulitsa.


If you like cycling, make sure to visit the Za Velogorod Festival with its retro bike exhibition, market and live music. The second round of the Leningrad Criterium race will also take place during the event at Petrovsky Arsenal in Sestroretsk.



Sunday, July 27


Navy Day will be celebrated with a weapon and military transportation exhibition, self-defense master classes and concerts. The event starts at 1 p.m. in the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburg.



Monday, July 28


Dont miss a chance to see the latest achievements in robotics during the RoboDom interactive show, exhibiting more than 150 robots. The show will be at BUM center, 22/2 Gzhatskaya Ulitsa, until Aug. 3. The entrance ticket costs 350 rubles ($10).



Tuesday, July 29


A video of a Queen concert from 1986 will be shown today at 8 p.m. in Yaschik, 50/13 Ligovsky Prospekt.



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