Moscow: Russian President Vladimir Putin, signed a law that allows independent journalists and bloggers to be labeled as “foreign agents”. Russian legislation passed in 2012 already gave authorities the power to brand media organizations and NGOs as foreign agents.
According to a document published on the Russian government website, the new law which extends to individuals will come into immediate effect.
Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders have expressed their concern that the amendments may also be aimed at bloggers and internet users who benefit from scholarships, funding or revenues from a relevant media outlet.
Last month, in a joint statement NGOs said that the law was “a further step to restrict free and independent media” and “a strong tool to silence opposition voices”. After Kremlin-funded RT television was declared a foreign agent in the United States, Russia first passed legislation allowing media organizations to be slapped with the label in 2017.