Suck It Up, Foreign Agent

A Moscow appellate court sends a Russian nonprofit group packing after state-owned TV called its founder a spy.

When suing the Russian journalism for defamation, it helps to be a billion-dollar state-owned company, rather than a blacklisted noncommercial cluster. That’s the lesson Nadezhda Kutepova learned on, once Associate in Nursing judicature in capital of the Russian Federation upheld a rejection of her organization’s legal proceeding against a significant news company.

In the late Nineteen Nineties, Kutepova supported Planeta Nadezhd (Hope Planet) in Ozyorsk, a city engineered round the Mayak atomic power plant. The Russian government classifies this settlement as a strategic website and it’s consequently closed to guests.

In 1957, one amongst the storage facilities in Ozyorsk exploded and hot materials poisoned the realm around it, as well as the stream Techa. Planeta Nadezhd spent years lobbying to induce medical treatment and edges for locals full of the accident.

For its hassle, Planeta Nadezhd was rewarded in April 2015 by being blacklisted as a “foreign agent” by Russia’s Justice Ministry, on the grounds that the organization accepted foreign funding and dispensed political activities. A month later, it absolutely was penalised three hundred,000 rubles ($5,000) for failing to register with the government’s list of foreign agents.
Kutepova’s issues increased once a state-owned national tv network then singled her come in a report, career her Associate in Nursing yank spy.

“Planeta Nadezhd uses American funds to conduct industrial espionage,” an anchor on Rossiya-1 told millions of TV viewers. Over the coming months, more reports aired about Kutepova and her nonprofit group, including footage of her home and an interview with a former agent in the Federal Security Service, who warned that “her actions are a [national security] threat.”

Fearing she would be charged with espionage and treason, and heeding the advice of her attorney, Kutepova and her four children fled to Paris, where they were granted political asylum.

In February 2016, lawyers from “Komanda 29” took Planeta Nadezhd’s case to a court in Moscow, demanding that VGTRK, the state-owned holding company for Rossiya-1, retract its espionage allegations. The judge ultimately ruled in favor of VGTRK, finding that the allegations were broadcast merely as correspondents’ personal opinions.

The Moscow appellate court upheld this verdict on Friday, March 10.

Remarkably, a Russian court came to the opposite conclusion in a recent defamation suit brought by Rosneft against the independent news outlet RBC, which is being forced to retract an article published in April 2016 reporting that the company’s CEO asked Vladimir Putin to block Rosneft’s minority shareholders from buying more shares
Despite RBC’s insistence that its sources will verify the story, a court has ordered the wire service to delete it from its web site and issue a public apology.

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