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Russia labels media outlet, 2 rights groups ‘foreign agents’

Russian authorities designate a popular independent media outlet and two rights groups “foreign agents,” a move that comes as part of a months-long crackdown on opposition supporters, independent media and human rights activists.

Russia’s justice ministry slaps the “foreign agent” label on Mediazona, a news site known for its extensive coverage of high-profile court cases; OVD-Info, a prominent legal aid group that focuses on political arrests; and Zona Prava, another human rights group.

The designation implies additional government scrutiny and carries strong pejorative connotations that may discredit the recipient.

Along with the three entities, 22 individuals — including Mediazona chief editor Sergei Smirnov and publisher Pyotr Verzilov, who is also a prominent member of the protest group Pussy Riot — have also been added to the ministry’s registry of “foreign agents.”

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