Russia fines Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief over alleged discrediting of Russia military – JURIST

A Russian court in Moscow fined the editor-in-chief of independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta, Sergei Sokolov, on Thursday over accusations of discrediting the Russian armed forces. The 30,000 rubles (329 USD) fine from the Perovsky District Court in Moscow stems from the publication of a Novaya Gazeta article in December that explored the recruitment of Russian orphans for military service during the war in Ukraine.

Officers from Russia’s Center for Combating Extremism detained Sokolov on February 29. During the court proceedings, specific details regarding Sokolov’s alleged discrediting of the military were not disclosed. However, the official Telegram channel for Moscow’s court system cited linguistic and psychological indicators within the article as undermining the actions of the authorities.

Sokolov assumed leadership of Novaya Gazeta’s newsroom in September 2023, succeeding the Dmitry Muratov as editor-in-chief who resigned earlier because Russian authorities labeled him a “foreign agent,” a designation Muratov contested in court. Novaya Gazeta is known for critically examining Russian governmental affairs. The paper briefly had to suspend its operations in March 2022 amid escalating tensions following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In September 2022, a Moscow court revoked Novaya Gazeta’s license. Despite legal challenges and license revocations, the publication resumed operations through digital platforms.

The international community has also expressed concern about the situation. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemned Sokolov’s arrest, labeling it as another example of the growing censorship in Russia. The organization highlighted the importance of protecting press freedom and ensuring journalists can work without fear of persecution.




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