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Pro-Russian Dutch Blogger Assists Russia’s Media Crackdown

August 10th, 2021 16:31

Russ­ian media is report­ing that a con­tro­ver­sial pro-Russ­ian Dutch blog­ger brought a defama­tion case against  promi­nent Russ­ian inves­tiga­tive out­let The Insid­er, which result­ed in a “for­eign agent” des­ig­na­tion and brief deten­tion of its edi­tor-in-chief. Accord­ing to a The Bell report:

August 2, 2021 Promi­nent inves­tiga­tive out­let The Insid­er appeared this week to be the lat­est tar­get for offi­cials in an ongo­ing crack­down on inde­pen­dent media. Edi­tor-in-chief Roman Dobrokho­tov was briefly detained Wednes­day as part of a defama­tion case brought by con­tro­ver­sial Dutch blog­ger Max van der Werff. Dobrokhotov’s deten­tion came just a few days after The Insid­er was des­ig­nat­ed a ‘for­eign agent’ by the Jus­tice Min­istry — a label that not only requires an orga­ni­za­tion to iden­ti­fy itself as such on all pub­lished mate­r­i­al, but can lead to finan­cial prob­lems and hin­der the work of journalists.

Read the rest here.

Max van der Werff is a Dutch blog­ger known for his arti­cles reject­ing inter­na­tion­al inves­ti­ga­tors’ con­clu­sions that Malaysia Air­lines flight MH17 was shot down on its way from Ams­ter­dam to Kuala Lumpur by a Russ­ian-made Buk sur­face-to-air mis­sile fired from ter­ri­to­ry con­trolled by Moscow-backed sep­a­ratists in the east of Ukraine, killing all 298 pas­sen­gers and crew. The Bell report notes that van der Werff’s activ­i­ties began to get atten­tion from pro-Krem­lin media out­lets as far back as 2015 and that his con­tro­ver­sial claims about MH17 have been recy­cled in Russ­ian state-owned media since that time.

In Decem­ber, we report­ed about a Bellingcat/The Insid­er joint inves­ti­ga­tion about Bonan­za Media, a media project found­ed by Max van der Werff togeth­er with a for­mer RT jour­nal­ist ded­i­cat­ed to pub­li­ciz­ing alter­na­tive nar­ra­tives about the caus­es of the crash of MH17.