Reporters Without Borders (RSF) is very disturbed to learn that at least two Crimean journalists are on a list of 6,000 alleged “terrorists and extremists” that a Russian federal agency published yesterday.
Released by the Federal Financial Monitoring Service (Rosfinmonitoring), which is supposed to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism, the list includes Nikolai Semena, a freelance journalist, and Anna Andriyevska of the Centre for Investigative Journalism.
Legal proceedings are pending against Semena and Andriyevska in connection with their supposed cooperation with media outlets hostile to Russia’s annexation of Crimea, but neither has been tried or convicted.
“It is unacceptable that a state agency should designate anyone as a terrorist or extremist without a court decision,” said Johann Bihr, the head of RSF’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk.
“This list casts opprobrium on these two journalists and seriously endangers their safety, especially in Crimea’s polarized and volatile environment. The intimidatory effect is devastating. Any reporter could be on the list. We call on Rosfinmonitoring to remove this list from its website.”
Anti-extremist legislation is often used in an inappropriate and disproportionate manner to silence critics in Russia, which is ranked 148th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2016 World Press Freedom Index.