The status of a legal entity performing the functions of a foreign agent, introduced for Russian NGOs in 2012. For the media, this status has existed since 2017, and, paradoxically, an individual Russian citizen can be recognized as a foreign media performing the functions of a foreign agent.
In 2015 approved the procedure for excluding NPOs from the register of foreign agents. An organization may be excluded from the register if an unscheduled audit reveals that during the year it did not receive money or other property from foreign sources and / or was not involved in political activities. Several NGOs took advantage of this opportunity and removed from the registry.
According to the Law “On Mass Media” “a foreign mass media performing the functions of a foreign agent, carries the rights and obligations stipulated by the Federal Law of January 12, 1996 N 7-FZ “On non-commercial organizations” for non-commercial organizations performing the functions of a foreign agent. ” Thus, the procedure for leaving the foreign agent status for them should also be similar to the procedure for NPOs. But there is no criterion of political activity for the media; therefore, the media only has to prove the absence of foreign funding during the year.
At the same time, the status of a foreign agent in Russia exists for foreign media only. Consequently, only a foreign media outlet that does not have foreign funding can lose this status. Obviously, this requirement is completely absurd, and it is this, and not the fact that too little time has passed since 2017, that explains the fact that not a single media outlet has used the procedure so far.