Arts & Entertainment

Exiled news service Meduza defies Russian blockade, threats

Riga, Mar 4 (EFE).- Russian authorities on Friday blocked access to an independent Russian news website that has been operating in exile in Latvia since 2015.

Meduza, which also publishes news in English, on Thursday published an editorial ahead of the censorship of its content in Russia.

“We’re publishing this text while there’s still time for us to mark the beginning of yet another historic development: Russia has officially introduced state censorship. What do we mean by ‘still time’? Within a few days, maybe even today, it is possible that there will be no independent media left in Russia,” the editorial read.

Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine has made independent news coverage in Russia even harder and more treacherous for Meduza.

The agency’s journalists may now face treason charges for publishing accounts of what the Kremlin is doing in Ukraine by describing military operations as “a war or an invasion,” Meduza’s communications manager Katarina Abramova tells Efe.

Meduza has already lost advertising revenues after being labeled “a foreign agent” by Russian authorities and can no longer collect fees from subscribers due to international sanctions on Russian banks, she added.

“The war changed everything for everybody,” says Abramova, “Everyone is working like crazy, doing long night shifts.”

For over 50 Meduza staff members in Riga and at various locations in Russia and Ukraine “the world they lived in before is ruined,” Abramova adds.

Many Meduza staff based in Riga will not be able to visit family and friends in Russia, not only because all flights have ceased, but because they would run the risk of persecution and arrest by the Russian security services.

According to Meduza, Russia has returned to the censorship that existed under the Soviet Union before glasnost, a Russian term meaning openness and transparency, in the late 1980s.

TV Rain and the Ekho Moskvy (Echo of Moscow) radio station, the last bastions of domestic independent broadcasting in Russia, have both closed in recent days.EFE


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