Moscow court revokes the license of the newspaper ‘Novaya Gazeta’.

UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Ravina points out that the ruling is “yet another blow” against the press

‘Novaya Gazeta’ to appeal Russian court decision.

A Moscow court has revoked the license of the newspaper ‘Novaya Gazeta’, a symbol of information critical of the Kremlin, following a request by the Russian regulatory body, Roskomnadzor, as part of the tightening of censorship of Russian media in the face of the military offensive on Ukraine.

“The court satisfied Roskomnadzor’s administrative claim to revoke the registration certificate of CJSC Publishing House Novaya Gazeta,” a representative of Moscow’s Basmanny Court has been quoted as saying by TASS news agency.

Following the ruling by the Russian judiciary, the newspaper’s publisher, Dmitry Muratov, has announced that they will appeal the court’s decision, while clarifying that the revocation is against the newspaper’s print edition.

The lawsuit, filed by Roskomnadzor last July, alluded to “the failure to submit the editorial letter within the deadlines established by the media law.”

The Russian edition of Novaya Gazeta suspended publication in March following two written warnings from Russia’s Federal Service for Telecommunications Supervision, Roskomnadzor (RKN) in which it accused the newspaper of mentioning in some of its articles companies listed by Moscow as “non-commercial organizations performing foreign agent functions.”

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On the other hand, it should be recalled that the European edition, created after the closure of the newspaper in Russia last March 28, was put on the list of websites and web pages blocked by Roskomnadzor following a request filed by the Russian Prosecutor’s Office.

The newspaper, before its closure, already maintained limited coverage of the Ukrainian war, after publicly acknowledging that it had to avoid certain content in order not to risk closure following the tightening of censorship pushed from the Kremlin.

Muratov, Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2021 and founder of ‘Novaya Gazeta’, announced that he would donate the medal he received in Oslo to help Ukrainian refugees, in a symbolic gesture with which he intended to put the focus on the millions of people displaced by the military offensive launched by Russia.

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Following the decision of the Russian judiciary, UN Human Rights Office spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani said that the ruling against the Russian newspaper is “yet another blow” against the independence of the Russian media.

In this regard, she said she was “deeply concerned” and also emphasized the “legal restrictions and increased state controls” imposed on the country’s press following Moscow’s attack on Ukraine on February 24.

“We have repeatedly expressed our concern about the ‘foreign agent law’ and its chilling effect on the free exercise of civil and political rights. We note that it has often been invoked in a manner inconsistent with human rights to limit or deny the rights of free speech, peaceful assembly and association, among others,” he explained.

Finally, Shamdasani has urged the Russian authorities to “refrain from implementing measures that stifle reporting on serious issues of public interest,” while demanding that “diverse and pluralistic voices be allowed to be discussed in the media.”

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