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Several media outlets stopped their operations in Russia as Russian President Vladimir Putin took action against journalists.
As Fox News reported, on Friday, Putin signed a measure into law that would put journalists in jail for publishing information that goes against officials’ statements concerning the Russian war in Ukraine.
“Under the new law, reporters face up to 15 years in prison if they report what authorities deem as false reports about the military. The legislation was passed by both chambers of the Russian parliament,” the outlet noted.
“CNN will stop broadcasting in Russia while we continue to evaluate the situation and our next steps moving forward,” CNN said in a statement, per The Hill.
CNN Anchor Brian Stelter also tweeted about the development.
This just in from a CNN spokesperson: "CNN will stop broadcasting in Russia while we continue to evaluate the situation and our next steps moving forward."
— Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) March 4, 2022
BBC Director-General Tim Davie released a statement on Twitter in reaction to the new law.
“This legislation appears to criminalise the process of independent journalism. It leaves us no other choice than to temporarily suspend the work of all BBC News journalists and their support staff within the Russian Federation while we assess the full implications of this unwelcome development,” Davie said.
“Our BBC News service in Russian will continue to operate from outside Russia. The safety of our staff is paramount and we are not prepared to expose them to the risk of criminal prosecution simply for doing their jobs,” he added.
“I’d like to pay tribute to all of them, for their bravery, determination and professionalism. We remain committed to making accurate, independent information available to audiences around the world, including the millions of Russians who use our news services. Our journalists in Ukraine and around the world will continue to report on the invasion of Ukraine,” he concluded.
Bloomberg News noted, “Bloomberg News will temporarily suspend the work of its journalists inside Russia after President Vladimir Putin signed legislation that criminalizes independent reporting in the country.”
Bloomberg Editor in Chief John Micklethwait said on Friday, “We have with great regret decided to temporarily suspend our news gathering inside Russia.”
“The change to the criminal code, which seems designed to turn any independent reporter into a criminal purely by association, makes it impossible to continue any semblance of normal journalism inside the country,” Micklethwait added.
According to Bloomberg, the Russian measure will place prison sentences of up to 15 years for those charged with distributing “fake news” about the troops or calling for sanctions against Russia.
Two liberal local broadcasters, Ekho Moskvy and TV Rain, went off the air Thursday under pressure from prosecutors who’d demanded that access be restricted because of their coverage of Putin’s war in Ukraine. The websites of the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Meduza, an independent news group, weren’t accessible Friday. Facebook and Twitter were blocked by the country’s communications regulator, Interfax reported.
Per Fox, Nick Clegg, Facebook’s president of global affairs, said in a statement on Thursday, “soon millions of ordinary Russians will find themselves cut off from reliable information, deprived of their everyday ways of connecting with family and friends and silenced from speaking out.”
The situation in Ukraine continues to unfold as Ukrainians defend their country against ongoing Russian aggression.
The developing war has led to the outspoken involvement of government leaders in the United States, including South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, who said on Friday, “I’m hoping that somebody in Russia will understand that he’s destroying Russia and you need to take this guy out by any means possible.”