Russian authorities have recently labeled one of the leading independent media outlets in the country as a “foreign agent.” Such a maneuver led Meduza to set up a fiat and crypto fundraiser to survive the consequences of labeling.
According to an editorial statement published by the outlet, the Russian Justice Ministry added Meduza on April 23 to its “foreign agent” media list. It implies that every news piece or social post they do should be accompanied by a message, notifying their readers about its new status.
However, the Meduza team says that Kremlin considers them an “enemy of the state” with such labeling. It will make the journalistic routines more complicated, such as looking for sources or reporting any news, the statement added.
Afterward, advertisers stopped their business ties with the news outlet, which cut a financial flow that keeps alive to the outlet, and they expect a further loss of a “significant number of our advertisers in the coming weeks.”
That said, Ivan Kolpakov, Meduza’s editor-in-chief, announced the launching of a fundraiser to accept donations via bank card payments, Paypal, or digital currencies such as bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), and binance coin (BNB).
Per the “foreign agent” legislation adopted in 2012, Russia requires nongovernmental organizations that receive “foreign assistance” and that are “engaged in political activities” should be registered with such label, as well as being audited by the authorities, including their financial activities.
Meduza was on the top-10 most quoted Russian-speaking internet sources ranking in 2020.
Can the Journalists Be Paid in Cryptocurrencies to Bypass Future Sanctions?
But there could be more dangerous implications in terms of financing the media outlet. In fact, the editorial statement pointed out the following in regards to the journalists’ compensations after the “foreign agent” designation granted to Meduza:
(…) the writers who receive salaries from Meduza are now at risk of being designated as individual foreign agents. Should this happen (and there are already precedents), they would be forced to report all their income and expenses to Russia’s Justice Ministry, just as Meduza is now required to do. Any reporting errors could lead to fines and even felony charges and imprisonment, making it easier than ever to exert pressure on our reporters.
However, the outlet didn’t mention further plans on how they will proceed, aside from setting up the fund.
What do you think about crypto fundraisers helping media outlets as an alternative source of income? Let us know in the comments section below.