Novaya Gazeta, one of Russia’s last independent news outlets, is under threat after the country’s media watchdog demanded that its website and print edition be stripped of its license.
“The Russian censorship agency Roskomnadzor demanded that Novaya Gazeta’s registration certificate be declared invalid,” the publication said in a statement on Thursday.
The announcement came after the newspaper received two warnings about alleged violations from the state’s communications watchdog.
In March, Novaya Gazeta said it was suspending operations for the duration of the war after it became a crime to report anything about the conflict that deviates from the government line.
The temporary suspension was designed to save the publication from shutdown amid draconian laws that essentially banned any criticism of Russia’s offensive in Ukraine.
Editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov said at the time that the formal warnings were a reward for Novaya Gazeta’s coverage of the offensive and its efforts to estimate “losses and destruction”, both in Russia and in Ukraine.
On Thursday, Novaya Gazeta said that Roskomnadzor had gone to court to demand the cancellation of the license to use the newspaper’s website.
“Roskomnadzor asked the court to declare the Novaya Gazeta print media license invalid because the editorial staff did not provide its editorial status within the deadlines set by the media law,” the agency told Russian media 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?” asked the outlet.
“Is this politics? What’s not political now?
Roskomnadzor, quoted by Tass, also said on Thursday that it requested the revocation of Novaya Gazeta’s print edition distribution license.
The outlet said he would fight for his 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 NO magazine, restart the website and the new Novaya studio,” he said in a statement.
“We are not saying goodbye,” the newspaper added.
Roskomnadzor said in a statement Thursday evening: “Russian law requires strict observance of measures to prevent 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 dangerous materials should be a priority not only for Russian government agencies, but also for media and resource owners. Internet.
A number of exiled Novaya Gazeta journalists launched a new newspaper in May, called Novaya Gazeta Europe.
This month, Novaya Gazeta also launched a magazine, but Russian authorities quickly blocked its website.
All major independent media, including a radio station, Echo of Moscow, and the Dozhd TV channel have been closed in Russia or suspended their activities in the country.
Novaya Gazeta, established in 1993 after the breakup of the Soviet Union, has paid a heavy price for its independence and investigative coverage. Since 2000, six of its journalists and contributors have been killed in the course of their work, including investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya.
Additional reporting by Samantha Lock