BBC journalist says he has left Russia for ‘exile’ in Britain

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An investigative journalist for the BBC’s Russian-language service in Moscow said on Monday that he had felt compelled to leave Russia for what he called “exile” in Britain due to what he said was unprecedented surveillance.

Russian authorities designated Andrei Zakharov a “foreign agent” in October, a decision the British broadcaster said at the time it strongly rejected and would try to overturn.

The designation was the latest twist in a crackdown on media outlets that the authorities in Moscow see as hostile and foreign-backed. Separately, BBC journalist Sarah Rainsford left Russia in August after Moscow refused to extend her permission to work in what it said was a tit-for-tat row with Britain over the treatment of foreign media.

The foreign agent designation has Cold War-era connotations and requires those so labelled to prominently indicate in all their content that they are “foreign agents”, something which can hurt advertising revenue.

Zakharov said in a BBC Russian report he authored about other journalists designated as foreign agents that he had felt compelled to leave Russia after noticing what he called “unprecedented surveillance” of his activities in Moscow.

via Reuters

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