Russia calls Deutsche Welle a “foreign agent” | News | DW

The Russian Justice Ministry on Monday placed German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) on a list of “foreign agents”.

“This decision was made on the basis of documents received from the competent state authorities,” the ministry said in a statement. The statement did not specify the documents or authorities in question.

In response, DW chief executive Peter Limbourg said: “This latest arbitrary decision by the Russian authorities was unfortunately predictable. This is yet another attack on freedom of the press and another attempt to cut off the Russian population from free and independent media. It started with the forced closure of our studio in Moscow at the beginning of February, then our website in all languages ​​was blocked in Russia. What followed was the gradual restriction of social media services and now DW has been labeled a “foreign agent”. That won’t stop us from continuing to provide comprehensive, independent coverage of Russia and the region from our new studio in Latvia and from Germany. We will have to put a lot more effort into censorship circumvention tools in the future. This includes VPN clients like Psiphon or the Tor Browser, which we already use.”

DW in Russia

On February 3, the Russian Foreign Ministry said it would take “retaliatory measures against German media” working in Russia after German authorities banned the Russian television channel “RT DE”.

This included “the recognition of DW as a foreign media performing the functions of a foreign agent,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

DW was forced to close its Moscow office and its journalists in Russia had to give up their accreditation, making it impossible to work in Russia.

In early March, DW’s website was blocked by state communications regulator Roskomnadzor.

Soon after, DW moved its office from Moscow to the Latvian capital Riga.

“The Russian government has clearly declared an ‘information war’ against DW,” said Christian Trippe, DW’s director for Russia, Ukraine and Eastern Europe. “We journalists continue to do our job and provide reliable information to our target audience in Russia.”

DW (Deutsche Welle) is Germany’s international public service broadcaster. It is tax-funded and produces freely accessible journalism in 32 languages.

The Broadcasting Council of the Federal Republic of Germany – an independent, non-partisan body free from governmental influence – oversees DW’s compliance with its legal mandate to provide people around the world with independent information. DW employs around 4,000 people, most of whom work in studios in Bonn and Berlin.

What is the list of “foreign agents”?

Since 2012, the list has been used to restrict the activities of international media as well as nonprofit organizations that receive foreign funding, particularly those active in politics or exposing corruption.

It requires that all publications on the list be marked as coming from a “foreign agent” and submit a report on their activities every 6 months.

More than 100 media outlets and individuals are currently on the list, including US public broadcasters Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty as well as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

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