Russia closes CBC’s Moscow bureau and cancels journalists’ visas

Russia’s foreign ministry announced it would close CBC/Radio-Canada’s Moscow bureau and cancel its reporters’ visas. 

CBC/Radio-Canada journalists were given three weeks to leave the country, reported CBC News

The decision came two months after the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission banned Russian state propaganda outlet RT from Canadian television. 

Vladimir Proskuryakov, deputy chief of mission at the Russian embassy in Canada, said that Russia might allow CBC/Radio-Canada to return to Moscow if the CRTC, a non-political regulatory body, reverses its decision and allows RT to resume broadcasting in Canada, reported CBC

In a similar retaliatory move in February, Russia closed German publication DW’s Moscow bureau and kicked out its journalists after Germany banned RT from broadcasting in the country. 

Proskuryakov told CBC that Russia could target other publications’ bureaus as well. 

CBC will continue to report on Russia from outside the country, said CBC News editor-in-chief Brodie Fenlon. 

Catherine Tait, president and CEO of CBC/Radio-Canada, was one of 61 Canadians, including nine media workers, who were banned from Russia on April 21, 2022. 

CBC and other media organizations including BBC, CNN and Bloomberg were forced to pause reporting in March after a new law threatened to jail anyone publishing what the government described as “false information” about the war in Ukraine. 

The law was one of the most severe infringements on independent journalism yet in Russia, a country that is already ranked among the worst for press freedom in the world

In a statement at the time, CBC said it would suspend reporting in Russia because it was too dangerous for its journalists to continue working there in light of the new legislation, which CBC said “appears to criminalize independent reporting on the current situation in Ukraine and Russia.”

The BBC also said it would no longer report on Russia from within the country, and would instead rely on journalists outside Russia. 

On the same day, the Russian government announced it would block access to media websites including Meduza, an independent publication produced by Russian journalists in Latvia, as well as the BBC’s Russian-language service, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and the U.S. government-funded outlets Voice of America and RFE/RL.