Several Western news agencies have suspended their operations in Russia

Several Western media outlets on Friday decided to suspend their journalistic operations in Russia following a new harsh crackdown on information and freedom of expression by the government of President Vladimir V. Putin.

Bloomberg News and the BBC said their correspondents in Russia could no longer freely report because of the new censorship law Mr Putin signed on Friday, which effectively criminalized independent journalism about the invasion of Ukraine. Under the legislation, which could come into force as soon as Saturday, journalists who simply describe the war as “war” could be sentenced to prison.

“The change to the penal code, which appears designed to make any freelance journalist a criminal solely by association, makes it impossible for any semblance of normal journalism to continue inside the country,” Bloomberg editor John Micklethwait wrote. , in a footnote. to staff.

CNN International, the global arm of CNN, said it had stopped broadcasting in Russia, and ABC News said it would not broadcast from the country on Friday. “We will continue to assess the situation and determine what this means for the safety of our teams on the ground,” New York-based ABC News said in a statement.

News agencies are not necessarily asking their correspondents to leave Russia, at least not yet.

“We are not removing BBC News journalists from Moscow,” said BBC News acting director Jonathan Munro. wrote on Twitter. “We cannot use their reports at this time, but they remain valuable members of our teams and we hope to bring them back to our production as soon as possible.”

He added: “Reflections with colleagues in Moscow whose voices cannot be silenced for long.”

A New York Times spokeswoman had no immediate comment on Friday.

The censorship law builds on the Kremlin’s insistence that calling its attacks on Ukraine a “war” or “invasion” rather than a “special military operation” amounts to disinformation. Its adoption also prompted several independent Russian media to cease operations.

Several foreign news outlets said their reporters in Ukraine would continue to report on the Russian invasion. This week, the BBC said it would use shortwave radio frequencies to broadcast news in Kyiv and parts of Russia.

Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, accused the BBC of playing “a determined role in undermining Russian stability and security”. Early Friday, the BBC reported that access to its website in Russia appeared to be restricted.

Mr. Putin has dismantled the last vestiges of a free Russian press. On Thursday, the pillars of Russia’s independent broadcast media collapsed under state pressure.

Echo of Moscow, the freewheeling radio station founded by Soviet dissidents in 1990 and symbolizing Russia’s new freedoms, has been “liquidated” by its board of directors. TV Rain, the young independent television station that calls itself “the optimist channel”, said it would suspend operations indefinitely.

And Dmitry A. Muratov, the journalist who shared the Nobel Peace Prize last year, said his newspaper Novaya Gazeta, which survived the murders of six of its journalists, could also be on the verge of closure.

Comments are closed.