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Russian Court Fines Activist for Interview With ‘Undesirable’ Media

Nadezhda Nizovkina. Siberian Lights / Facebook

A Russian court has handed down the country's first-ever sentencing against a person for appearing in an interview with an “undesirable” organization, the independent news website Mediazona reported Thursday.

Activist Nadezhda Nizovkina from the Far East Russian republic of Buryatia appeared on the independent news channel Dozhd during a broadcast in August, just two months after Russian authorities designated the outlet “undesirable.”

The designation bans Dozhd’s work inside Russia and criminalizes engagement with it, including providing commentary and sharing its content online. 

The Oktyabrsky District Court in Buryatia fined Nizovkina 5,000 rubles ($56), according to the ruling published on its website.

“Nizovkina took part in the activities of Sia TV Rain (‘TV Rain’) by speaking on the television channel ‘Dozhd’,” the Jan. 10 verdict reads.

It adds that the activist, who remains in Russia, can challenge the ruling with Buryatia’s Supreme Court within 10 days. It was not immediately clear whether Nizovkina had appealed the verdict.

Mediazona said it was unaware of previous guilty verdicts for providing comments to “undesirable” media outlets.

Nizovkina was already fined 5,000 rubles in December for the same administrative charges over her participation in an opposition forum, according to Mediazona.

Since launching its “undesirable” list in 2015 to crack down on foreign NGOs, Russian authorities have expanded the law to target independent news outlets, human rights groups, environmental organizations and educational institutions.

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