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Russia threatens Swiss newspaper over Putin caricature

Since the start of the Ukraine war, Russia has clamped down on critical media and opposition inside the country. Sputnik

Russia has threatened Swiss newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung with legal action after it published critical reports and a caricature of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In a letter to NZZ editor Eric Gujer published on Saturday on the Russian Embassy in Switzerland’s press service website, it said it was “outraged” by publication of an “insulting caricature of the President of the Russian Federation” and reserved the right to take legal action for defamation and slander.

“We believe that freedom of expression is in no way compatible with the freedom to disseminate insults and fakes,” the Russian embassy wrote.

The reason is reportedly an article in the NZZ edition of July 9 entitled “Superheroes and villains show their clout on the Internet”, in which the paper looked at the propaganda war on social media by both sides that has been part of the Ukraine war on the ground. The article was accompanied by a photo of Putin with a red clown nose and rainbow streaks on his face that had originally been published on Twitter.

Swiss newspaper NZZ has not so far issued any comment.

Since sending troops to Ukraine, Russia has been taking unprecedented domestic action against the media and opposition. The country has declared several organisations “undesirable” and described them as a “threat”. If foreign organisations, foundations or companies are deemed “undesirable”, Russians with links to such organisations face heavy fines or prison sentences of up to six years.

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About Swissinfo
SWI – the international service of the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation (SBC). Since 1999, has fulfilled the federal government’s mandate to distribute information about Switzerland internationally, supplementing the online offerings of the radio and television stations of the SBC. Today, the international service is directed above all at an international audience interested in Switzerland, as well as at Swiss citizens living abroad.
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