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"Novaya Gazeta" receives warning from registration authority

(GDF/IFEX) - 1 November 2010 - The "Novaya Gazeta" newspaper risks losing its registration certificate. Six months ago, the registration authority, Roskomnadzor, issued a warning to the newspaper accusing it of promoting extremist views. The paper contested that warning. However, last week the Moscow Tagansky Court upheld the warning.

The warning was issued to the paper over an article dealing with a journalistic investigation into the killing of lawyer Stanislav Markelov and journalist Anastasiya Baburova (the paper was accused of promoting ethnic and racial intolerance by quoting the program of the organization Russky Obraz, with which the suspects in the killing were involved).

"It's an outrageous story. Our paper quoted fascists in a report on fascists, but the warning was issued to us, not fascists. It's just the end of the world," "Novaya Gazeta" editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov said in an interview with Deutsche Welle.

There are three more higher courts where the paper can contest the warning, Mikhail Fedotov, secretary of the Russian Union of Journalists and a member of the presidential council on the development of civil society and the author of the bill on the mass media, said. Fedotov also referred to the Supreme Court's comments on what can be regarded as abuse of media freedom. Fedotov reiterated that the Supreme Court comments require courts trying such cases to take into account the context, genre and style of the article along with the words and phases.

The journalists have hopes based on these comments. They have now filed a cassation appeal with the city court. "We have already gone to court and defended ourselves, and therefore we are not raising any censorship barrier for ourselves," Sergei Sokolov, deputy editor-in-chief of "Novaya Gazeta", told Deutsche Welle.

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