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Russian Media Regulator Files Case Against The Insider Over 'Foreign Agent' Labeling Fine

Roman Dobrokhotov talks to the media after police conducted a search in his apartments in Moscow on July 28.
Roman Dobrokhotov talks to the media after police conducted a search in his apartments in Moscow on July 28.

The Russian state media monitor Roskomnadzor has filed a lawsuit in a Moscow court seeking a 500,000-ruble ($6,800) fine against the news website The Insider, which was added to the country's controversial registry of "foreign agents" in July.

The case is over the lack of appropriate labeling of content on The Insider website, according to TASS, citing a source in the court. A court document cited by TASS is dated November 17. A hearing date has not been set.

The Ministry of Justice entered The Insider on the register of "foreign agents" on July 23 as part of a mounting crackdown on independent news media.

Russia's "foreign agent" legislation requires nongovernmental organizations that receive foreign assistance and that the government deems to be engaged in political activity to be registered, to identify themselves as "foreign agents," to submit to audits, and to label their content with an intrusive disclaimer, with criminal fines for not doing so.

The Insider is registered in Latvia and operates under Latvian law, its editor in chief Roman Dobrokhotov said after its designation as a "foreign agent." It is therefore not obliged to obey the requirements of the Russian authorities, he said.

Just days after The Insider was labeled as a "foreign agent," Moscow police searched Dobrokhotov's apartment and that of his parents. Dobrokhotov's passport was confiscated, but he still managed to leave the country.

Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) in September said an arrest warrant had been issued for Dobrokhotov.

Dobrokhotov is accused of illegally crossing the border into Ukraine in August, "bypassing the established checkpoints," the FSB said. The statement added that Dobrokhotov faced criminal prosecution and up to two years in prison.

Based on reporting by RFE/RL's Russian Service and TASS

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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