By Euronews with AP, AFP
Russian authorities have outlawed an investigative online media outlet and listed its journalists as “foreign agents”.
The US-based publisher of Proekt was declared an “undesirable” organisation on Thursday by Russia’s Prosecutor General’s office.
The move to effectively ban the outlet’s activities is seen as the latest in a series of steps to raise pressure on independent media in the country.
Proekt has published a number of reports exposing alleged corruption and abuses by wealthy officials close to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
But Moscow said on Thursday that its publisher — American company Project Media Inc. — posed “a threat to the foundation of the constitutional order and security of the Russian Federation”.
Russian authorities also labelled Proekt’s chief editor Roman Badanin and four of his journalists as “foreign agents”.
The government already has outlawed more than thirty groups under a 2015 law that made membership in “undesirable” organisations a criminal offense. Members of an “undesirable” group face fines and up to six years in prison.
Another law will also class NGO members as “foreign agents” if they receive funding from abroad and engage in vaguely political activities.