Russian Court Fines Novaya Gazeta Chief Editor for ‘Discrediting’ Army

Updated with court ruling.

A Moscow court has fined the editor-in-chief of the independent newspaper Novaya Gazeta for breaking wartime censorship laws, the publication reported Thursday.

Sergei Sokolov, who replaced Nobel Peace Prize winner Dmitry Muratov as Novaya Gazeta’s head editor last year, was found guilty of “discrediting” the Russian military in an article published by the newspaper.

The court fined him 30,000 rubles ($329) on the misdemeanor charge.

Novaya Gazeta did not say which article the court considered to contain information “discrediting” the country’s armed forces.

Novaya Gazeta suspended its operations in March 2022 after the Kremlin warned that its coverage of the war in Ukraine could make it a target of criminal prosecution.

Authorities eventually blocked the newspaper’s website and revoked its print and online media licenses.

Following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, former employees of Novaya Gazeta launched a European edition of the newspaper to avoid being censored by the Russian authorities.

However, the European publication, registered in Latvia, is not officially connected with the original Novaya Gazeta newspaper, which has continued publishing reports through its channel on the messaging app Telegram and YouTube despite having its licenses revoked.

Sokolov was voted in as Novaya Gazeta’s new editor-in-chief in November after Muratov stepped down to challenge his “foreign agent” status in court.


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