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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dagestani Opposition Paper Faces Closure Over Content

A government media watchdog has asked Dagestan's Supreme Court to close a local opposition newspaper over what it called extremist articles, the newspaper's editor said Tuesday.

The Dagestani branch of the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service asked the court to shut down the Chernovik weekly after issuing two warnings to the paper in April 2008 and July 2008 about publications that contained "criticism of law enforcement agencies," Chernovik editor Nadira Isayeva said by telephone from Makhachkala.

By law, the watchdog can ask the court to close a media outlet after issuing two warnings.

Isayeva called the lawsuit a result of "obvious incompetence" by the watchdog, saying the newspaper had appealed both warnings and the court had not yet considered the appeals — meaning the warnings had not entered into force.

The Dagestani branch of the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service had no comment about the case Tuesday. Officials directed inquires to a spokeswoman authorized to comment on the case, and she was unavailable Tuesday. The agency's headquarters in Moscow had no immediate comment.

A Dagestani Supreme Court spokesman said he could not provide a comment within one day.

Isayeva said the court informed her Monday about the watchdog's request, which was filed May 16. The court is to consider the civil case Thursday.

Isayeva said the case might put an end to separate criminal charges of inciting hatred against law enforcement agencies that were filed against her and four other Chernovik journalists last July. By law, a single offense cannot be part of a criminal and civil lawsuit at the same time, she said.

Isayeva and her colleagues face up to five years in prison if convicted of the criminal charges.