Russian court upholds shutting top independent newspaper

MOSCOW (AP) — A court in Moscow on Tuesday upheld an earlier verdict to revoke the license of a top independent newspaper that has been critical of the Kremlin for years, part of the authorities' relentless crackdown on dissent.

The ruling by the Moscow City Court against Novaya Gazeta, which was Russia’s most renowned independent newspaper until the authorities ordered it shut last year, comes as Russia’s grinding military campaign in Ukraine approaches its one-year mark.

The court rejected Novaya Gazeta's appeal against September's ruling by a district court in Moscow that approved a petition by Russia’s media regulator to revoke Novaya Gazeta’s license. The regulator accused the newspaper of failing to submit its newsroom charter to authorities on time, the claim that Novaya Gazeta rejected as a cover for what it described as the authorities' effort to muzzle an indepedent voice.

Dmitry Muratov, Nobel Peace Prize-winning editor-in-chief of the newspaper, denounced Tuesday's ruling, saying that it “serves a bunch of people who want to leave the nation facing only propaganda.”

Days after Russian President Vladimir Putin sent troops into Ukraine on Feb. 24, the Kremlin-controlled parliament approved legislation that outlawed alleged disparaging of the Russian military or the spread of “false information” about the country’s military campaign in Ukraine.

Dozens of Russian independent media outlets were banned as a result, while others announced that they were halting any reporting related to Ukraine.

Novaya Gazeta announced March 28 that it was suspending its operations for the duration of what the Kremlin called the “special military operation” in Ukraine. But Novaya Gazeta's staff who moved abroad launched a new project, Novaya Gazeta Europe, that has been strongly critical of the military campaign in Russia’s ex-Soviet neighbor.


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