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Russia Labels 2 More Media Outlets 'Foreign Agents'

A protestor is detained holding a placard with Russia's mandatory "foreign agent" disclaimer. RBC / TASS

Russia's government on Friday declared two more popular media outlets "foreign agents," pressing ahead with a crackdown on dissent and freedom of expression.

The justice ministry added Rosbalt and Republic to its list of "foreign agents."

Rosbalt.ru is a popular news portal with offices in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, while Republic is a subscription-based website that specializes in news analysis.

Carrying negative Stalin-era connotations, the label is a deterrent for sources and advertisers and makes it hard for journalists to carry out their work.

By law, entities identified as "foreign agents" must accompany all their texts, videos and social media posts with a disclaimer about content from a "foreign agent."

"Of course, Republic does not have foreign financing  it only exists thanks to subscribers' money," Dmitry Kolezev, the outlet's chief editor, said on messaging app Telegram.

Dozens of Russian journalists and a number of leading independent outlets including Rain TV and Meduza, a popular Russian-language news website, have this year been hit with the "foreign agent" designation.

The justice ministry's list currently features nearly 90 entries. 

The highest-profile independent media outlets not on the list are the Echo of Moscow radio station and Novaya Gazeta newspaper.

Last week Novaya Gazeta chief editor Dmitry Muratov won the Nobel Peace Prize along with investigative journalist Maria Ressa of the Philippines for their work promoting freedom of expression.

President Vladimir Putin said this week the award would not "shield" Muratov from being branded a "foreign agent" if he breaks the law.

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