Major international news outlets including the BBC, CNN and Bloomberg will suspend operations in Russia in response to a new law criminalizing news reports that contradict the Kremlin’s version of the war in Ukraine.
On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a bill into law that criminalizes spreading what the government deems to be fake news, The Associated Press reported.
Under the new measure, a statement as simple as referring to Putin’s invasion of Ukraine as a “war” rather than a “special military operation” could constitute criminal disinformation, according to The New York Times.
Punishment could include fines or up to three years’ imprisonment, with 15 years possible if authorities decide a report had “severe consequences.”
International news organizations that have announced they would be temporarily suspending operations in Russia include:
Multiple independent Russian news outlets have also shuttered in anticipation of the crackdown. TV Rain, which had already been blocked by regulators, gave its last broadcast via YouTube on Friday, ending with a proclamation of “no to war.”