Two more independent media outlets in Russia shut due to restrictions

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(FILE) A file picture taken in front of the Saudi Consulate in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, west of Paris on October 1, 2019 shows dummies with press armbands and jacket piled up by Reporters without borders (RSF) members during a protest to mark the one year of the death of Jamal Khashoggi. - The annual report by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said on April 19, 2021 that journalism was at least partly blocked in nearly three-quarters of the 180 countries surveyed. Its World Press Freedom Index found 73 countries "totally blocked or seriously impeded" journalism, while it was "constrained" in 59 others, adding that many governments had used the pandemic to worsen repression. (Photo by PHILIPPE LOPEZ / AFP) Photo: Philippe Lopez/AFP/dpa

Two further independent media outlets in Russia have been forced to shut down after their websites were blocked by the authorities, they said on Thursday, amid a government crackdown on critical voices ahead of elections later this year.

The risks to staff are now too great, the editorial team of the investigative platform openmedia.io said in a statement on Telegram.

MBCh Media also said it would stop operations.

Both media groups were founded by the exiled Kremlin critic and ex-oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who lives abroad.

The two outlets were blocked on Wednesday, by Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor, for alleged links to organizations deemed “undesirable” by the Russian judiciary.

Thwe two media outlets disputed the assertion.

The Open Russia pro-democracy organization, also supported by Khodorkovsky, dissolved itself late in May, after having campaigned for more democracy and the development of civil society in Russia during the past 20 years.

The Britain-registered Khodorkovsky Foundation was classified as “undesirable” by the Russian prosecutor general’s office earlier this year, effectively banning all its activities.

Russian authorities have gone after a slew of foreign non-governmental organizations, saying the work of the organizations pose a threat to the country’s constitutional order and security.

Russia is due to conduct parliamentary elections in the autumn.

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