Russia's President Vladimir Puttin has appended his signature to a highly controversial law that will see independent journalists and bloggers designated as foreign agents, the BBC has reported.
Organisations that engage in politics and receive funding from outside Russia will have the foreign agent label applied to them consistent with the law.
Even before the ink on the law dries up, the European Union (EU), Amnesty International and the OSCE international security body have condemned the law as draconian.
The signing of the law flies in the face of a statement by a group of 60 prominent journalists who urged the Russian president not to sign it.
“The label of foreign agent discredits a person in the eyes of his fellow citizens and disparages his dignity despite the fact that he has done nothing wrong or illegal and did not carry out the will of any foreign employers, " the journalist's statement read according to the Guardian newspaper.
Critics of the Putin administration see the law as an attempt by the government to scare them and further restrict the freedom of expression according to the New York Post.
Alexei Venediktov, an editor of a popular radio station in Russia, said that the law had been pushed through as a response to the protests against the government.
“This is the story of a selective attack for total fear and to create obstacles for protesters, above all the media, which report on protests, using all available information,” he said in an interview with Znak.com according to the Guardian. “This is yet another tool, it is clear, understood, demonstrated and brazen.”