Novaya Gazeta, the Moscow newspaper and website whose editor received a Nobel Peace Prize last year for defending freedom of speech, suspended its operations in Russia in March, after a censorship law threatened journalists whose accounts of the war in Ukraine deviated from the Kremlin line with as many as 15 years in prison.
Now the Russian authorities have gone to court, seeking to permanently strip the news organization of its media license, Novaya Gazeta reported on Thursday.
One of the most prominent independent Russian-language outlets covering Russia before the invasion, Novaya Gazeta received formal warnings from the authorities in March regarding what seemed like a technicality: failing to identify entities the Russian government considers “foreign agents” as such in two of its articles.
The country’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, filed legal actions on Wednesday seeking to revoke Novaya Gazeta’s license. Those complaints cited the two March warnings as the basis for the action, the media outlet reported.
In an online editorial, the news organization vowed to fight the case in court and to keep its website online, even if it is stripped of its license. “The most important thing is that we are and will be,” the editorial said. “We are not saying goodbye.”
Earlier this month, the Russian authorities also blocked the website of a new online magazine, Novaya Rasskaz-Gazeta, started by the same team of journalists, for “discrediting” the military, the outlet reported.
Dmitri A. Muratov, the editor in chief of Novaya Gazeta, shared the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021 for his role in defending freedom of expression in Russia. He auctioned off his medal in June for $103.5 million, and dedicated the proceeds to UNICEF, to aid Ukrainian children and their families displaced by Russia’s invasion.
In March, Mr. Muratov said the news outlet would not put out a newspaper or update its website in Russia until the war in Ukraine was over, because of Russia’s censorship of war reporting. “There is no other choice,” he said in a message to readers. “For us, and I know, for you, it’s an awful and difficult decision.”