The Russian authorities recently labeled one of the country’s leading independent media outlets as a ‘foreign agent’. One such maneuver prompted Meduza to launch a fiat and crypto fundraiser to survive the fallout from labeling.
The fund accepts donations in Bitcoin, Ethereum and Binance Coin
According to an editorial published by the outlet, Russia’s Justice Ministry added Meduza to the media list of “foreign agents” on April 23. It implies that every news story or social post they do should be accompanied by a message notifying their readers of the new status.
However, the Meduza team says the Kremlin considers them a “enemy of the state” with such labeling. It will complicate journalistic routines, such as searching for sources or reporting news, the statement said.
After that, advertisers ceased their business ties to the news channel, interrupting any financial flow to the point of sale, 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 launch of a fundraiser to accept donations via bank card payments, Paypal, or digital currencies such as bitcoin (BTC), ethereum (ETH), and binance coin (BNB).
Under the law on “foreign agents” passed in 2012, Russia requires that non-governmental organizations receiving “foreign aid” and “engaged in political activities” must be registered with such a label, as well as monitored by the authorities, including their financial activities. .
Meduza was in the top 10 most cited Russian-speaking internet sources in 2020.
Can the journalists be paid in cryptocurrencies to bypass future sanctions?
But there could be more dangerous implications in terms of media channel funding. In fact, the editorial statement pointed out the following regarding journalists’ allowances following Meduza’s designation as a “foreign agent”:
(…) The writers who receive a salary from Meduza now run the risk of being designated as individual foreign agents. Should this happen (and precedents already exist), they would be forced to report all their income and expenses to the Russian Ministry of Justice, just as Meduza has to do now. Any reporting error can lead to fines and even criminal charges and jail time, making it easier than ever to put pressure on our reporters.
However, the outlet has not mentioned any further plans on how they will move forward, aside from setting up the fund.
What do you think of crypto fundraisers helping media outlets as an alternative source of income? Let us know in the comments below.
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