The Sovetsky District Court of Vladivostok has overturned the decision of the Ministry of Justice to include journalist Daniil Gubarev in the register of “foreign agents,” lawyer Sergey Valiulin told Mediazona.
Gubarev runs the News.vl blogs about events in Vladivostok and Primorye, and previously worked for the Vl.ru news agency. The Ministry of Justice recognized him as a “foreign agent” in March 2023. The agency explained its decision by the fact that the journalist lives in Singapore and “disseminates” the materials of “foreign agents” Rain, The Insider, Rosbalt, Levada Center, blogger Maksim Kats and political scientist Yekaterina Shulman.
The ministry also accused News.vl of “forming a negative attitude” towards the policy of the Russian authorities because of posts about the war in Ukraine, Primorsky region Governor Oleg Kozhemyako and other materials.
According to the lawyer, the court’s decision was influenced by “the absence of evidence from the administrative defendant and the adequate attitude of the judge, who objectively examined the merits of the claim”. “It’s not just that the journalist mainly reposted articles from other media. The main thing is that the defendant objectively failed to prove that Gubarev was under foreign influence”, Valiulin noted.
This is the first case in Russia, when a person included in the register of “foreign agents” managed to challenge the decision of the Ministry of Justice in court. Earlier, the HIV service fund Humanitarian Action managed to get its status revoked, but then the decision was overturned by a higher court, and the organization was returned to the register.
Gubarev himself welcomed the court’s decision, noting that he was “absolutely not in agreement” with the inclusion in the list of “foreign agents.” “I’m glad we won in court. But, I won’t be surprised if they bring everything back again,” he said. The Primorye prosecutor’s office did not comment on the court’s decision.