Statement by U.S. Department of State: Eroding Press Freedom in Russia

The Russian government continues to stifle press freedom and media independence. We condemn the selective targeting of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) and Voice of America (VOA) under Russia’s law on “foreign agent” media outlets. RFE/RL and VOA remain the only media outlets designated under this law, which exacerbates long-standing restrictions on their distribution in Russia. Moreover, on July 3 the State Duma took another step toward approving legislation that would extend the “foreign agent” designation from media outlets to individual persons taking part in the creation of materials for media outlets. This bill could provide the Russian government a new tool to target independent journalists and bloggers in retaliation for their work.

The United States again calls on the Russian government to uphold its commitments under the Helsinki Final Act and its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political rights to respect the exercise of fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, in Russia.