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Media Foreign Agents Bill Brought to Russian Duma

Published: May 31, 2014 (Issue # 1813)



  • A bill widening the "foreign agent" net to include any news outlet that receives more than 25 percent of its funding from abroad and engages in political activities was registered in the Duma.
    Photo: Vedomosti

A bill registered with the Russian State Duma aims to force media outlets with funding from abroad to register as foreign agents.

The proposed law follows similar legislation aimed at non-government organizations enacted in 2012. That law has been widely condemned by human rights organizations, with Amnesty International describing it as "the Russian government's assault on independent civil society."

A bill widening the "foreign agent" net to include any news outlet that receives more than 25 percent of its funding from abroad and engages in political activities was registered in the Duma on Thursday by a group of lawmakers that includes the Liberal Democrat Mikhail Degtaryov and United Russia's Yevgeny Fyodorov.

A similar measure was previously submitted in late 2012 with a threshold of 50 percent foreign funding. The bills authors' withdrew that project in January 2014, however, and said they would lower the figure in response to Ukraine's political crisis, which they blamed on foreign-funded media.

Following the introduction of the foreign agent law for NGOs in 2012, many organizations receiving foreign funding have refused to register with the Justice Ministry as foreign agents, a term often used during the Cold War to target dissenters, and fought the classification in court.

On Wednesday, Russia's upper house of parliament approved amendments to the law that would allow the Justice Ministry to include organizations on the foreign agents register without a court order.

A date for the media foreign agent bill's first reading has not yet been set.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Friday, Aug. 22


Get ready to pledge allegiance to the flag during National Flag Day, paying tribute to when, 23 years ago today, the iconic hammer-and-sickle was replaced with the tricolor that now flutters in the wind. Petersburgers will be treated to a free concert on Palace Square, a military parade and a culminating air show featuring Russias Russian Knights stunt pilots.



Saturday, Aug. 23


Uppsala Park plays host to Fairy Noon today, a performance of five separate fairy tales ranging from folk classics to more haunting selections. There will be three different renditions of the tales throughout the day and tickets start at 500 rubles ($13.80) for adults and 300 rubles ($8.30) for children.


Classic Finnish cartoon characters the Moomins expect to receive a warm welcome from Russian fans during todays Moomin Festival at the Pearl Plaza Shopping Center at 51 Petergofskoye Shosse. Become a kid again or introduce a new generation to the beloved creation of Finnish writer Tove Jansson.



Sunday, Aug. 24


The tortured genius of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh gets his day in the centers Konnushnaya Ploschad during Make Art Like Van Gogh, a daylong celebration of the artist that will allow amateur artists to try and replicate the work that made the famed painter world-renowned.


Experience a variety of dances highlighting the diversity of the world around as at the final day of the Ethno-Dance International Dance Festival that has been at the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions this past week. Tonights performance will feature Egyptian dancers accompanied by local orchestras.



Monday, Aug. 25


Today kicks off the Elena Obraztsovoy International Competition for Young Vocalists in the large hall of the Shostakovich Philharmonic. Talented youngsters will showcase their range over the next six days before a winner is chosen on Aug. 30.



Tuesday, Aug. 26


Love movies but hate all those words? Then check out Rodina Cinema Centers Factor of Consensus film forum this evening. Silent movie classics from the beginning of the 20th century will be screened and accompanied by a pianist, who will provide the soundtrack for the ongoing action. The screenings begin at 7 p.m. Check Rodinas website for more details.



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