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Putin calls for review of ‘foreign agent’ law

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that the country’s “foreign agent” laws, which have drawn criticism from a number of media outlets, should be reviewed with input from the “professional community.”
Speaking during a meeting of the Presidential Council for Civil Society and Human Rights on Thursday, Putin said: “We need to pay attention to this. That includes how the bill was created, and specifically why it wasn’t discussed with the professional community. Not only do we need to consider this, we’re obliged to make this work happen. To look at how it functions, and what its results are.”

The Russian leader also argued that his country’s media outlets have been labeled “foreign agents” by the governments of other states, including in the US. 

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        <img src="https://cdni.rt.com/files/2021.08/thumbnail/6129452f2030275a317d42d7.jpg" alt="FILE PHOTO: Russian President's Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov, center, answers journalists' questions" />
        <figcaption><a href="/russia/533301-press-persecution-appeal-attention-kremlin/">Fresh appeal from news organisations against purported 'persecution' of free press in Russia 'deserves attention,' Kremlin says</a></figcaption>
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“We must guarantee freedom of speech,” he went on, “the immunity, to a certain degree, of people who are drawing attention to the faults in our society, the imperfection of our state apparatus, and to questions that come up during election campaigns. Without a doubt. We just need to protect ourselves from possible interference in our domestic affairs from outside.”

The laws require organizations deemed “foreign agents” to announce this designation across all their publications. At Thursday’s meeting, the case was put to Putin of a journalist who was forced to append this label to photographs she had taken of herself decorating a Christmas tree with her child.

“Of course, the examples you brought are comical, a completely excessive response,” the president commented.  

Putin’s remarks come after Dmitry Muratov, a Russian journalist and Nobel laureate, spoke at the US-hosted Summit for Democracy on Wednesday, where he called for the abolition of “foreign agent” laws in all countries. 

“Let’s try, in different countries, to rid ourselves of this shameful brand, which is becoming fatal to our profession,” Muratov said, claiming that the “foreign agent” label in Russia often comes across as meaning “enemy of the people.”

In August, a group of Russian media outlets published an open letter decrying the laws for what they called “the persecution of independent journalism in this country.” In November, however, a top Moscow lawmaker indicated that the rules could be made even stricter, saying, “we have proposals for both tightening these norms and expanding their usage, as well as expanding the application of their usage.”

     https://ift.tt/33hkw9J 10, 2021 at 11:58AM

from RT – Daily news

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