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.
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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.