In a shocking move, the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, gave a green signal to a law that will allow Russia to declare journalists and bloggers as ‘foreign agents’.
The law states that Russian nationals and foreigners who work with media or distribute their content and receive money from abroad would be declared as ‘foreign agents’, potentially exposing journalists, their sources, or even those who share material on social networks to foreign agent status.
The move has been criticised by journalists and human rights activists as they have described it as a scare tactic to further stem criticism of Putin’s government.
Earlier, several prominent journalists, writers and activists in an open letter urged Putin to not sign the law.
“‘Foreign agent’ is a persistent phrase with a sharply negative character. The label of foreign agent discredits a person in the eyes of his fellow citizens and disparages his dignity despite the fact that he has done nothing wrong or illegal and did not carry out the will of any foreign employers,” the letter read.