MOSCOW, JAN. 11 -- The Soviet government shut down the fledgling independent news agency Interfax today, a move that Soviet journalists said is part of the Kremlin's general shift toward more hard-line policies.

The closing of Interfax, a Soviet-French-Italian joint venture, came just two weeks after the state broadcasting authority Gostelradio barred from the air the country's most popular and irreverent television news program, "Vzglyad" ("View.") The program was initially barred after it tried to broadcast a live interview on the resignation of Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze.

Although both the print press and television remain far less restricted than under previous Soviet leaders, journalists here said that President Mikhail Gorbachev is now buckling to the pressure of hard-liners to rein in the policy of glasnost, or openness. Glasnost has been celebrated as Gorbachev's most significant domestic political success since coming to power in March 1985.

"We're seeing a coup," said one "Vzglyad" host, Yevgeny Dodolyev, "but in a country as big as ours it doesn't take just an hour like in Haiti."

Interfax, a new and well-connected news-gathering service, has provided far more objective coverage than the state-run news agency Tass since it began a year ago. Many foreign news bureaus here have come to rely on Interfax for quick and accurate accounts of closed government meetings and for reports from the various Soviet republics.

Mikhail Kommissar, the director of Interfax, said that four officials from Gostelradio and several police officers arrived at the agency's office in the Radio Moscow building and impounded much of its equipment. He said that although Interfax became independent last September, the officials were claiming ownership of its equipment and hard-currency profits.

Kommissar, however, added that the officials made it clear that they were making the move because they objected to Interfax's editorial content.

Vyacheslav Terekhov, a reporter for Interfax, said the agency will try to move to offices provided by Moscow's radical mayor, Gavril Popov. Interfax journalists said they thought they could return to work in the new quarters by the end of the month, but it is still unclear how Gostelradio will react.

Since Communist Party Central Committee member Leonid Kravchenko was appointed head of state television in November, there has been a noticeable tightening in official controls over news programs. The nightly news program "Vremya" has broadcast a series of one-sided reports, accusing nationalists in the Baltic states and other republics of stirring up ethnic violence.

The emergence of Kravchenko, who is known as an obedient Communist Party bureaucrat, has cast a shadow over leading liberal publications and television programs. Yuri Rogachev, a journalist at Interfax, said, "We expected something like this after Kravchenko returned to power."

Vladislav Listeyev, one of the hosts of "Vzglyad," told the newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets, "We will struggle {to return to the air} but if {Gorbachev} himself has sanctioned this censorship then, of course, the struggle is useless."

Although the Soviet Union has passed a press law that eliminated state censors from newspaper offices and broadcasting centers, Gorbachev has at times expressed irritation with the press. In 1989, he tried to pressure Vladislav Starkov, the editor of the liberal weekly Argumenty i Fakty, to resign.