Russian news outlet Novaya Gazeta to be stripped of licence under court order | Russia

Novaya Gazeta, one of Russia’s last remaining independent news outlets, is under threat after the country’s media watchdog outlets demanded that its website and print edition be stripped of its license.

“Russia’s censorship agency Roskomnadzor has demanded that Novaya Gazeta’s certificate of registration be declared invalid,” the publication said in a statement on Thursday.

The announcement was made after the newspaper received two warnings over alleged violations from the state communications watchdog.

In March, Novaya Gazeta said it was suspending operations for the duration of the Ukraine war after it became a crime to report anything on the conflict that veered from the government line.

The temporary suspension was designed to save the shutdown from amid draconian publication laws that have essentially banned any criticism of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine.

The chief editor, Dmitry Muratov, said at the time that the formal warnings were payback for Novaya Gazeta’s coverage of the offensive and its efforts to estimate “losses and destruction”, both in Russia and Ukraine.

On Thursday, Novaya Gazeta said Roskomnadzor went to court demanding that the media license of the newspaper’s website be cancelled.

“Roskomnadzor asked the court to declare the print media outlet Novaya Gazeta’s license invalid due to the editorial office not providing its editorial statute within the timeframe established by the law on media,” the agency told Russian news outlet RBC.

The newspaper said it did not know why such a request had been made now.

“Why are the lawsuits filed four months after the warnings were issued, what has changed?” the outlet asked.

“Is it politics? What is not politics now?’

Roskomnadzor, quoted by Tass, also said on Thursday that it had requested the revocation of the distribution license of Novaya Gazeta’s print edition.

The media outlet said it would fight for its rights in court.

“What will Novaya Gazeta do? Prepare for the courts, defend our case, in which we are sure, prepare a new issue of the NO magazine, restart the website and the new studio Novaya,” it said in a statement.

“We are not saying goodbye,” the newspaper added.

Roskomnadzor said in a statement on Thursday night: “Russian legislation requires strict compliance with measures aimed at preventing the dissemination of prohibited and unreliable information. In the context of the information war unleashed by the west against our country, the protection of Russian citizens from hazardous materials should be a priority not only for Russian government agencies but also for the owners of the media and internet resources.”

A number of exiled Novaya Gazeta journalists in May launched a new newspaper, called Novaya Gazeta Europe.

This month Novaya Gazeta also launched a magazine, but Russian authorities soon blocked its website.

All main independent media outlets including the radio station, Echo of Moscow, and the channel Dozhd TV have been shut down in Russia or suspended their operations in the country.

Novaya Gazeta, established in 1993 after the break-up of the Soviet Union, has paid a heavy price for its independent stance and investigative coverage. Since 2000, six of its journalists and contributors have been killed in connection with their work, including top investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya.

Additional reporting by Samantha Lock

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