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Russian police raid student news site over Navalny video

April 14, 2021

Russian police on Wednesday raided the offices of student news site DOXA and charged staff with inciting minors to protest, in an ongoing clampdown on independent media.

DOXA said the charges stem from a video about demonstrations in support of jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who is serving two-and-a-half years in a penal colony over an old embezzlement conviction.

“Today at six o’clock in the morning searches were carried out in the office of our journal and in the apartments of our editors,” DOXA said in a statement.

It said four of its journalists were facing charges of “inciting minors to participate in illegal activities”, an offence punishable by up to three years in jail.

They were taken in for questioning by investigators and a Moscow court is due to rule on pre-trial measures later Wednesday, the statement said.

Nationwide demonstrations broke out earlier this year demanding Navalny’s release after he was arrested on his arrival from Germany, where he spent months recovering from a nerve agent poisoning.

DOXA says it had already deleted the video after a request from Russia’s media regulator.

“There were no calls to illegal actions in our video — we were saying that young people should not be afraid to voice their opinions,” DOXA said.

“The pressure that the journalistic community has faced recently is unprecedented,” it added, vowing to continue its work.

The independent media outlet, founded by students at Moscow’s Higher School of Economics, came to prominence in 2019 after it voiced support for students who faced jail time for taking part in opposition rallies.

Wednesday’s raids come after security agents last week searched the home of investigative journalist Roman Anin and questioned him over a 2016 investigation into the wealth of Igor Sechin, the head of Russia’s oil giant Rosneft.

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Dispatches from AFP concerning freedom of information, censorship and news coverage in regions where independent media is under threat.