Media organizations including the CBC, BBC, CNN and Bloomberg were forced to pause reporting in Russia after a new law threatened to jail anyone publishing what the government described as “false information” about the war in Ukraine.
Under the law passed on March 4, 2022, anyone who publishes information contrary to the Kremlin’s official line on the war can be jailed for up to 15 years – one of the most severe infringements yet on independent journalism in Russia, a country that is already ranked among the worst for press freedom in the world.
In a statement, the 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 the CBC said “appears to criminalize independent reporting on the current situation in Ukraine and Russia.”
The BBC also said it would also 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.