The cancellation of independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta website’s registration is formally to be considered by the Russian Supreme Court on September 15. “Russian authorities should reverse a recent decision to suspend the printing license of Novaya Gazeta newspaper and cease all efforts to censor the outlet and harass its staff”, the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) says in a statement.
A court recently suspended the outlet’s print license and revoked the registration of its affiliated magazine Novaya Rasskaz-Gazeta.
The Moscow court granted a request by state media regulator Roskomnadzor to revoke the newspaper’s print license, according to media reports and a statement by Novaya Gazeta. In its statement, the newspaper said it would appeal the decision. The court has also annulled the registration of the outlet’s affiliated magazine Novaya Rasskaz-Gazeta.
Novaya Gazeta stopped printing in Russia on March 28, after official warnings from authorities for allegedly failing to mark materials produced by so-called “foreign agents” – an often used trick by Russian authorities to stop independent media.
Without being registered as a media outlet, Novaya Rasskaz-Gazeta, which printed its first edition in July, will not be covered by Russia’s media legislation, which regulate how outlets can apply for accreditations, request information from the government, and perform other tasks.
“With their continued regulatory harassment of Novaya Gazeta and Novaya Rasskaz-Gazeta, Russian authorities are proving their determination to wipe out the country’s independent media outlets and put an end to free journalism in Russia,” said Carlos Martinez de la Serna, CPJ’s program director, in New York.
Novaya Gazeta chief editor Dmitry Muratov called the ruling “a political hit job, without the slightest legal basis,” Reuters reports.
“Today they killed the newspaper. Stole 30 years of life from its staff. Deprived its readers of their right to receive information,” Novaya Gazeta said in a statement.
Novaya Rasskaz-Gazeta is run by Novaya Gazeta staffers who remained in Russia. Other staffers of Novaya Gazeta have left the country and are in exile producing Novaya Gazeta Europe.
Since Novaya Gazeta was founded in 1993, at least six of its journalists and contributors have been killed in connection to their work, according to CPJ research.