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Global news media on defensive after Putin signs ‘fake news’ law

A pedestrian walks past a BBC brand at Broadcasting Dwelling in central London October 22, 2012. REUTERS/Olivia Harris

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  • Russian regulation threatens jail for ‘fake news’ spreaders
  • BBC chief states legislation appears to criminalise journalism
  • Moscow states Western media show anti-Russian bias
  • West has banned Russia’s RT over Ukraine coverage

LONDON/LOS ANGELES, March 4 (Reuters) – World-wide information media reported they have been suspending reporting in Russia to shield their journalists right after a new law that threatened jail conditions of up to 15 decades for spreading “fake information”.

Britain’s BBC reported Friday it had quickly halted reporting in Russia, and by the finish of the day, the Canadian Broadcasting Enterprise and Bloomberg News explained their journalists ended up also halting function. CNN and CBS Information reported they would cease broadcasting in Russia, and other retailers eliminated Russian-dependent journalists’ bylines as they assessed the scenario.

With Russia’s assault on Ukraine drawing nearly universal condemnation, Moscow has sought to hit again in the facts war. Its communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, blocked Meta System Inc’s (FB.O) Fb, citing 26 situations of discrimination in opposition to Russian media. TASS information agency described that Russia also limited access to Twitter. (TWTR.N)

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Russian officers have reported that false facts has been distribute by Russia’s enemies this sort of as the United States and its Western European allies in an attempt to sow discord between the Russian individuals.

Lawmakers handed amendments to the criminal code building the distribute of “bogus” facts an offence punishable with fines or jail phrases. They also imposed fines for anybody contacting for sanctions from Russia following the invasion of Ukraine.

The Kremlin did not promptly respond to a Reuters request for remark on the media companies’ moves to suspend reporting.

News executives said the new legislation would hamper impartial reporting and imperil journalists, and that their corporations have to harmony the obligation to audiences to report the news with guarding journalists against retaliation.

“The modify to the felony code, which would seem built to switch any independent reporter into a prison purely by affiliation, helps make it extremely hard to carry on any semblance of normal journalism within the nation,” Bloomberg Editor-in-Main John Micklethwait wrote in a message to his employees. “We will not do that to our reporters.”

BBC Director General Tim Davie said the new laws appeared to criminalise the procedure of unbiased journalism.

“It leaves us no other choice than to temporarily suspend the get the job done of all BBC News journalists and their assistance personnel within just the Russian Federation though we assess the whole implications of this unwelcome enhancement,” he reported in a assertion.

He extra that the BBC Information Service in Russian would continue on to function from exterior Russia. Jonathan Munro, an interim director of BBC News, explained the corporation was not “pulling out” journalists from Moscow but evaluating the influence of the new legislation.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corp., the country’s community broadcaster, explained
it had quickly suspended reporting from the ground in Russia so it could search for clarity on the new legislation.

U.S. tv newscaster ABC Information reported it would pause broadcasting from Russia as it assessed the condition. The Washington Publish, Dow Jones and Reuters stated they have been analyzing the new media regulation and the condition.

“Our leading priorities are the basic safety of our employees and masking this significant story fairly and entirely,” said Dow Jones spokesperson Steve Severinghaus. “Remaining in Moscow, freely capable to speak to officials and capture the mood, is important to that mission.”

By purchasing his forces into Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin has sparked the worst crisis involving Russia and the West given that the conclusion of the Chilly War, battering economic and commodity markets, sending the rouble into a tailspin and triggering an economic isolation in no way before frequented on these kinds of a large financial system.

Western governments and tech platforms have also banned the Russian news network RT, with the European Union accusing it of systematic disinformation over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

MEDIA Freedom

Russia’s Overseas Ministry claims that the Western media offer you a partial – and generally anti-Russian – view of the globe though failing to keep their very own leaders to account for corruption or devastating international wars like Iraq.

Western leaders such as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and previous U.S. President Barack Obama have lengthy elevated fears about the dominance of point out media in Russia and say the freedoms received when the Soviet Union collapsed have been rolled back again by Putin.

The new laws was drafted by Russia’s upper dwelling of parliament and signed into legislation by Putin, TASS documented. It appeared to give the Russian state much much better powers to crack down, by making it a felony offence to spread bogus info, with a jail phrase. go through far more

“If the fakes guide to major repercussions, then imprisonment of up to 15 years threatens,” the lessen house of parliament, regarded as the Duma in Russian, stated in a statement.

Russia experienced earlier slice access to various international information organisations’ web sites, which includes the BBC, Voice of The united states and Deutsche Welle, for spreading what it said was false info about its war in Ukraine. read through additional

The BBC explained it would begin broadcasting four hrs of information a working day in English on shortwave radio in Ukraine and sections of Russia, reviving an antiquated technological innovation used in the Chilly War to circumvent point out censorship.

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Writing by Kate Holton and Dude Faulconbridge Extra reporting by Joseph Nasr, Dawn Chmielewski and David Ljunggren Enhancing by Andrew Heavens and Daniel Wallis

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