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Russia tells US to ‘mind own business’ over media freedom

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Moscow has told the US embassy to “mind your own business” after Washington’s diplomatic mission raised concern about curbs on media freedom in Russia.

Rebecca Ross, the spokeswoman for the US embassy, on Tuesday expressed concern about a clampdown on journalists in Russia.

“Watching arrest after arrest of Russian journalists – it’s starting to look like a concerted campaign against #MediaFreedom,” she tweeted.

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“Mind your own business,” the Russian foreign ministry tweeted in response late Tuesday.

Earlier that day the FSB security agency, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB, arrested a respected former journalist, Ivan Safronov, 30, on suspicion of state treason.

His detention sparked uproar among supporters and journalists who say his arrest is punishment for his coverage of Russia’s defence sector.

A member of Safronov’s defense team, Yevgeny Smirnov, said the former journalist, who used to work for Kommersant and Vedomosti newspapers, is suspected of cooperating with Czech intelligence since 2012.

The FSB investigators believe that the Czech intelligence acts under the guidance of the United States, Smirnov told AFP.

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The FSB says that Safronov has collected confidential data about the Russian military, defense, and security and handed it over to the intelligence of a NATO member country.

On Wednesday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov insisted again that Safronov’s arrest was not related to his work as a journalist.

He also dismissed as “emotional” a chorus of statements from former colleagues and media that Safronov is not guilty.

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“We have to wait for the trial,” Peskov told reporters.

Safronov’s lawyer Ivan Pavlov said the former journalist’s case already consisted of seven volumes suggesting that the security service had been watching him for a long time.

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All major TV stations are under state control in Russia.

Journalists working for print and online outlets have recently complained about increasing curbs on press freedoms and pressure from the Kremlin.

On Monday, a reporter from the northwestern city of Pskov was fined nearly $7,000 for “justifying terrorism”, in a case that sparked an outcry.

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Prosecutors had requested that Svetlana Prokopyeva be sentenced to six years in prison for a commentary about a bomb attack.


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‘Political theater’: Analyst explains why Ted Cruz’st hearing on violence at protests was a deceptive farce

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On Tuesday, August 4, Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas chaired a U.S. Senate hearing that was named “The Right of the People Peaceably to Assemble: Protecting Speech by Stopping Anarchist Violence.” The far-right Republican, during the hearing, claimed that “anarchist violence” and Antifa have been out of control at the George Floyd protests. Journalist Natasha Lennard, in an article published by The Intercept on August 5, dissects Cruz’ “political theater” and lays out some reasons why the hearing was a embarrassing farce.

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2020 Election

‘A lying draft dodger’: Republican military veterans slam Trump and declare their support for Biden in new attack ad

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The Lincoln Project is not the only right-wing group that has been running ads slamming President Donald Trump; the group Republicans Voters Against Trump has been running anti-Trump ads as well. And a new RVAT ad, Ed Mazza reports in HuffPost, features Republican military veterans who do not want to see Trump reelected and are supporting former Vice President Joe Biden.

The ad, Mazza notes, will air on Fox News later this month during the 2020 Republican National Convention. And it will air in key battleground states that include Florida, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Arizona — all of which Trump won in 2016. Recent polls have shown Biden to be quite competitive in those states as well as in Michigan, where Trump’s campaign has suspended its advertising following an abundance of polls showing Biden with a double-digit lead.

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Anti-mask GOP lawmaker mocks Ohio governor for testing positive for coronavirus

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Notoriously anti-mask Ohio state Rep. Nino Vitale gloated after Gov. Mike DeWine tested positive for the coronavirus.

The Urbana Republican has questioned masks and opposed other public safety measures imposed by DeWine, also a Republican, and ridiculed the governor after he tested positive for the potentially deadly virus ahead of meeting President Donald Trump.

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