Putin has recently passed a law punishing the deliberate spread of fake news with upto 15 years in jail which has caused several western news organizations to pull out of Russia fearing the penalty.
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Following President Vladimir Putin’s enactment of the law punishing the purposeful distribution of disinformation the BBC, CNN, ABC News, CBS News, and Bloomberg have ceased operations in Russia.
CNN said it would “stop broadcasting in Russia while we continue to evaluate the situation and our next steps moving forward” after the anti-fake news bill was passed on Friday.
Bloomberg, the news organization created by US billionaire Michael Bloomberg and owned by him, stated it will “temporarily suspend the work of its journalists inside Russia,” accusing Moscow of criminalizing “independent reporting.”
According to the New York-based outlet, the war on disinformation would make it “impossible to continue any semblance of normal journalism inside the country.”
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The state-funded BBC in the United Kingdom, like Bloomberg, said that the rule “appears to criminalize the process of independent journalism,” and declared that its Russian-language coverage will be limited to outside Russia.
ABC and CBS News spokespeople declared that the networks would not broadcast from Russia until they “assess the situation,” with ABC News referring to the legislation as “censorship law.”
The Washington Post responded to the new rule by deleting author names and other information from the articles written in Russia.
“Some internal news: In response to Putin’s threats against reporters in Russia, The Washington Post will remove bylines and datelines from stories produced by our journalists in Russia.
Goal is to ensure staff’s safety,” one of the writers, Paul Farhi, stated on Twitter, adding that he had “never seen anything like this” in his professional life.
Farhi revised his previous comment an hour later, recalling that during the First Gulf War, Post reporter Caryle Murphy was trapped in Kuwait and had to cover the Iraq invasion while in hiding.
Amending this slightly: During the first Gulf War, our reporter, Caryle Murphy, was trapped in Kuwait during the Iraq invasion. Went into hiding. And filed great dispatches.— Paul Farhi (@farhip) March 5, 2022
Her stories were published w/o bylines, for obvious reasons.
Caryle won a Pulitzer for her work.
“Her stories were published w/o bylines, for obvious reasons. Caryle won a Pulitzer for her work,” Farhi added.
If found guilty of knowingly and intentionally spreading false information regarding Russia’s conflict with Ukraine in a way that seriously harms national security, those convicted under the new media law could face up to 15 years in prison.
Those found guilty of defaming the Russian army face fines of up to $13,500 or three years in prison, while those who advocate for anti-Russian sanctions face fines of up to $5,000.
The chairman of the State Duma, Vyacheslav Volodin, stated that the measure was required “to protect our soldiers” and “to protect the truth.”
“American social networks, controlled by Washington, launched an information war against Russia,” Volodin said, adding, “It is necessary to make a decision to combat the spread of fake information.”
Moscow insists that its military offensive in Ukraine is a “special operation” aimed at “demilitarization” and “denazification” of the country in order to safeguard the people of the two Donbass republics that Russia recently recognized.
Kiev claimed the operation was unprovoked and that it was not attempting to seize Donetsk and Lugansk through force. In the aftermath of the Maidan coup, which deposed Ukraine’s government, the two republics broke from Kiev in 2014, with occasional conflict continuing in the years thereafter.