Duma to consider legislation allowing foreign public broadcasters to be deemed ‘undesirable’

Legislation making it possible to label foreign public broadcasters “undesirable organisations” in Russia has been introduced to Russia’s lower house of parliament, the chairman of the State Duma Committee on Security and Corruption Control, Vasily Piskaryov, announced on Thursday.

When applied to foreign entities, current legislation only allows the “undesirable” classification to be given to non-governmental organisations, Piskaryov said, and does not permit the designation to be applied to a state-funded or state-run organisation.

Organisations deemed “undesirable” by the Russian government immediately become illegal in Russia and must dissolve themselves. Novaya Gazeta Europe was deemed an “undesirable” organisation in June 2023.

According to Piskaryov, the bill was introduced to prevent such organisations from “posing a threat to Russian national security”, alleging that they had in the past participated in “the development of sanctions, blocking investment projects, interfering in elections, training influential people, inciting national discord and much more”.

Founder of civil liberties NGO First Department, Ivan Pavlov, warned that the amendments could lead to the banning of multiple media outlets such as Radio Liberty, the BBC, and Deutsche Welle.

“I think that this proposal is directed against the media, because the most sensitive area for the state today is the dissemination of a different, alternative viewpoint on the events taking place in Russia,” Pavlov said.

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