CNN to Cease Broadcasting in Russia After New Law

( Last Friday, several major news outlets announced that they would stop broadcasting from Russia after Moscow moved to imprison journalists who report “fake news” (AKA stories that deviate from the Kremlin’s narrative in Ukraine).

CNN, CBS News, ABC News, the BBC, the Canadian CBC, and Bloomberg all announced on Friday that they were curbing coverage in Russia to protest the country’s censorship on news coverage.

The announcement came after Russia blocked foreign news websites like the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Deutsche Welle.

The Russian parliament on Friday passed a law criminalizing reporting that describes the invasion of Ukraine as a “war” as well as reporting on Russian military setbacks or civilian deaths. Journalists who violate the law could face up to 15 years in prison for cases leading to “severe consequences.”

In defending the censorship bill, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the lower house of parliament said the law will mean “very grave punishment” to those who have lied or “made statements discrediting our armed forces.”

In addition to blocking access to some western news sites, on Friday, Russia also blocked access to Facebook and Twitter.

This week, the New York Times announced it was moving its editorial staff out of Russia in response to the crackdown on a free press, citing the safety and security of its staff working in the region. According to a spokesperson for the Times, they will continue to monitor the application of the censorship law and hope to be able to return its staff to the region “as soon as possible.”

On Tuesday, the BBC announced that it was reversing its initial decision and would resume live TV shots and other reporting in Russia as it continues to monitor the implementation of the censorship law.

CNN clarified that it has not shut down its Moscow bureau entirely, but for the time being, it has ceased reporting from Russia until it has assessed the new law.

Meanwhile, independent journalists from Russia are reportedly fleeing the country out of fear of a crackdown from Moscow.