Russia labels veteran rights activist, four others, media ‘foreign agents’

FILE Image: Riot police detain human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov during an unsanctioned protest in

FILE Image: Riot police detain human rights activist Lev Ponomaryov during an unsanctioned protest in Moscow Might 7, 2012. Vladimir Putin was sworn in as Russia’s president in a glittering Kremlin ceremony on Monday, starting off a six-year time period in which he faces rising dissent, financial challenges and bitter political rivalries. REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia’s Ministry of Justice extra 5 people, which include veteran rights activist Lev Ponomaryov, to its listing of media “foreign agents” on Monday, the first time folks have been qualified under laws employed towards media shops.

Russia to start with handed a law in 2012 permitting it to label overseas-funded non-governmental organisations and legal rights groups it seen as engaged in political exercise as “foreign agents”, a expression with damaging Soviet-period connotations.

The law was later expanded to label “foreign agent” media stores and independent journalists and bloggers. Rights teams say the regulation is open up to abuse and has been utilized to stifle dissent and harass civil modern society groups.

On Monday, the justice ministry introduced the addition of Ponomaryov, 79, a longtime critic of President Vladimir Putin, to its record of media overseas agents alongside 4 other people today, like a journalist for Radio No cost Europe/Radio Liberty.

Until eventually now, the list experienced only contained the names of media stores, which include numerous regional providers of Radio Totally free Europe/Radio Liberty as well as the Voice of The us and a Czech outlet.

Ponomaryov claimed he was not sure how the designation would have an effect on him and that he was surprised that he, as a non-journalist, experienced been named, the Interfax news agency claimed.

Rights groups and other organisations designated by the justice ministry as foreign brokers can be subjected to place checks and deal with bureaucratic scrutiny.

Reporting by Tom Balmforth modifying by Andrew Osborn