Putin Makes Russian Apps Mandatory on Smartphones, Computers

Russia to preinstall native apps on electronic devices

Russia's Putin signs law to label people foreign agents

The law will come into effect immediately.

Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a controversial law yesterday allowing independent journalists and bloggers to be labelled as "foreign agents", a move that critics say will violate media freedom.

The legislation is an expansion of a law that was adopted by Russian Federation in 2012 which gave authorities the power to brand NGOs as foreign agents.

Under the law, all material published by an individual who receives funds from overseas will be labelled as having been distributed by a foreign agent.

Several rights groups, including Human Rights Watch, had called for the initiative to be dropped as it was being approved by lawmakers.

The move has been criticized by many in Russian Federation for restricting freedom of expression in the country even further and allowing the authorities to crack down on dissent.

Critics of the law say it stigmatizes organizations with the designation and would do the same to journalists if they are labeled as foreign agents.

Russian Federation says it wants the law as a tit-for-tat mechanism if its journalists are defined as foreign agents in the West.

Russian officials have said the law is a "symmetrical response" after Russia's state-funded channel RT - which U.S. authorities accuse of spreading propaganda - was required to register its U.S. operating unit under the U.S. Foreign Agents Registration Act.

Russian opposition politician Alexi Navalny's organisation has been branded a foreign agent, as has US-financed media outlet Radio Liberty/Radio Free Europe and Voice of America.

"'Foreign agent' is a persistent phrase with a sharply negative character", the letter reads.

Latest News