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Russia brands Germany’s Deutsche Welle ‘foreign agent’

BERLIN — The Russian justice ministry has added Deutsche Welle to a list of media outlets the Kremlin considers “foreign agents,” according to a tweet from the German broadcaster’s official Russian account.

In Russia, outlets labelled “foreign agents” have to add a disclaimer to everything they publish, disclose where their funding comes from, and give authorities full insight into their activities.

“This new arbitrary decision by the Russian authorities was, unfortunately, to be expected,” said Peter Limbourg, the director general of Deutsche Welle. “Another step to attack the freedom of the press and a new attempt to cut off the Russian population from free information.”

Monday’s decision was the latest move from Moscow targeting German media, including a complete ban on Deutsche Welle’s broadcasting activities on Russian territory that the Kremlin imposed in February in retaliation against Germany’s ban of the state-controlled Russian broadcaster RT.

“If our website had not been blocked anyway, we would have had to provide our articles with a corresponding notice,” said Christoph Jumpelt, a spokesman for Deutsche Welle.

Earlier this month, Limbourg announced that following the closure of their office in Moscow, local staff would be relocated to Riga, the Latvian capital.

“Even though our website and most social media channels have been blocked by the Putin government in recent days, people in Russia can find a variety of ways to circumvent censorship,” Limbourg said at the time.

On Sunday, German tabloid Bild reported that the government in Moscow had banned its website, where the outlet has published Russian translations of its coverage of the war in Ukraine, criticizing the Kremlin.

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