Investigative Group OCCRP Leaves Russia To Protect Journalists.

The investigative journalism group Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) says it has halted its operations in Russia to shield its journalists from an ongoing government crackdown on independent media in the country.

The OCCRP said on September 15 that most of its Russian partners cooperating with it had been labeled as "foreign agents" or "undesirable" organizations, putting them at risk, given the current conditions.

It added that it had proposed its employees in Russia move to other countries, while those who stayed received severance payments and assistance in finding new jobs.

"We will not stop reporting on the kleptocracy but increasingly there is little gained from being there and great risks to the freedom of employees. We will work with journalists outside," OCCRP co-founder and editor Drew Sullivan tweeted .

"We thank the dedicated journalists who sought hard to tell the real truth and to counter the murderous misinformation machine that is the Russian government. They are true heroes. The people of that great country deserve more," another tweet said.

The OCCRP is a noncommercial organization that unites more than 50 independent media outlets across the world and publishes more than 100 investigative reports each year.

Critics have said Russia's law on "foreign agents," initially adopted in 2012 and amended several times since, is being used by the authorities against independent voices, especially in recent months with parliamentary elections approaching and the ruling, Kremlin-backed United Russia party slumping in opinion polls.

The law requires nongovernmental organizations that are deemed to be receiving foreign assistance and engaged in political activity to be registered and to identify themselves as "foreign agents," as well as to submit to audits.

Organizations designated as "foreign agents" also have to carry out tedious administrative procedures, including clearly indicating their status to the public.

In July, the Council of Europe's Venice Commission, which is composed of independent experts in the field of constitutional law, called on Russia to reject aspects of the "foreign agents" laws, saying they had a "significant chilling effect...on the free exercise of the civil and political rights which are vital for an effective democracy."

Russia has said the laws and new amendments are designed to increase transparency and enhance national security, but the Venice Commission said in its report that the results will be the exact opposite.

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and several of its Russian-language news sites, including its flagship Russian-language television channel, Current Time, are on the "foreign agents" registry.

RFE/RL has not labeled its content, resulting in the Justice Ministry imposing tens of millions of dollars in fines. RFE/RL has appealed to the European Court of Human Rights and has also moved to shift some of its employees and operations out of Moscow to Kyiv and elsewhere.

RFE/RL President Jamie Fly has said that Russia is attempting to fine RFE/RL's Moscow bureau out of existence with the penalties.

Radio Free Europe

RFE/RL journalists report the news in 22 countries where a free press is banned by the government or not fully established, including Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Russia.

https://www.rferl.org/

Related news
Iran Says Nuclear Talks To Resume In Vienna 'Soon'

Iran Says Nuclear Talks To Resume In Vienna 'Soon'

Iran said talks with parties to the 2015 nuclear accord would resume in a few weeks, although there would be no meetings with world powers on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York this week.

Radio Free Europe

San Francisco mayor spotted defying her own mask guidelines.

San Francisco mayor spotted defying her own mask guidelines.

CNN's Brianna Keilar rolls the tape on San Francisco Mayor London Breed after she was spotted violating her own mask guidelines at a concert. #CNN #News

WSJ: Trump wants McConnell voted out of Senate

WSJ: Trump wants McConnell voted out of Senate

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that former President Trump wants Sen. Mitch McConnell out as Senate minority leader and is searching for Republicans willing to mount a challenge. #CNN #News

Putin's party on track to retain majority amid fraud claims.

Putin's party on track to retain majority amid fraud claims.

Russia's ruling party United Russia is on track to secure a majority following a three-day parliamentary election, according to early results and an exit poll reported by Russian state media RIA Novosti. Opposition members and independent observer...

Covid vaccine is safe for kids aged 5-11, Pfizer says.

Covid vaccine is safe for kids aged 5-11, Pfizer says.

In a highly anticipated announcement, Pfizer said a Phase 2/3 trial showed its Covid-19 vaccine was safe and generated a "robust" antibody response in children ages 5 to 11. CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta and Adm. Brett Giroir, former assistant for secret...

Gabby Petito’s body likely found, says FBI

Gabby Petito’s body likely found, says FBI

The case of missing Gabby Petito took a tragic turn when police found human remains during their search for her -- and officials are working to determine whether the discovery could answer questions regarding what happened to the 22-year-old. CNN’...

Border crisis is 'exactly' what Biden wants: Ken Paxton.

Border crisis is 'exactly' what Biden wants: Ken Paxton.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton says the crisis at the border is worse than he's ever seen. Subscribe to Fox News! Watch more Fox News Video: Watch Fox News Channel Live: FOX News Channel (FNC) is a 24-hour all-encompassing news service deliveri...