“For more than a decade I’ve seen how dramatically the space for independent journalism has been shrinking at the regional level,” Moscow-based freelancer Artem Filatov told VOA. Speaking ahead of a constitutional vote that gave President Vladimir Putin sweeping powers, the former Echo of Moscow radio journalist said, “There is little critical reporting toward Putin’s system. And many Moscow-based media are also under control [of the state or state-aligned corporations].” Since Putin came to power in 2000, Russia has moved to limit news media and critics. Steps have included passage of a 2014 law threatening bloggers and a 2019 law to control the internet, plus measures on extremism, foreign interference and false news that can be used to punish journalists. Media buyouts by state-owned companies or Putin supporters have led to journalists quitting over censorship. While some independent news outlets have survived or emerged, many are located overseas for protection from interference or retaliation. Impunity has increased the sense of threat. Since January 2000, at least 25 journalists have been killed for their work, but full justice has been achieved in only one case — Anastasiya Baburova of Novaya Gazeta — according to a count by the press freedom group… Read full this story
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