German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle is now considered a “foreign agent” under Russian law after the Justice Ministry in Moscow listed him on Monday.
“In accordance with the requirements of the current legislation of the Russian Federation, the Russian Ministry of Justice has entered Deutsche Welle in the register of foreign media acting as a foreign agent”, the ministry said in an official statement. He added that the decision had been made “based on documents received from authorized state authorities.”
Deutsche Welle’s branding as a foreign agent will require German media to put a corresponding disclaimer on all of its content. The decision also requires the broadcaster to disclose all information regarding its funding – and Russian authorities will now closely monitor DW’s activities in the country.
Deutsche Welle chief executive Peter Limbourg commented on the decision on Monday, saying it was expected. Limburg called him “one more step to attack the freedom of the press and a new attempt to cut off the Russian population from free information”.
Last month, in retaliation for Berlin’s blocking of Russian channel RT DE, the Kremlin imposed a ban on DW in Russia. The German channel has been cut off from all broadcasting on the territory of the largest country in Europe. All staff in DW’s Russian office have been stripped of their press cards.
“Even though our website and most social media channels have been blocked by the Putin government in recent days, people in Russia can find various ways to circumvent censorship,” said Limbourg.
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