In about ten days, Russia went from an authoritarian regime to an autocracy. Moscow on Friday blocked Facebook, restricted access to Twitter, cracked down on the media, and imposed harsh prison sentences for spreading “false information about the military”. In the complete invasion of Ukraine.
The measures taken strengthen the arsenal of authorities to control the story What they do to the Russian population about the invasion of Ukraine, was presented as a limited operation aimed at protecting Russian-speaking Ukrainians from “genocide”.
The amendment provides for various penalties of up to 15 years in prison for publishing information intended to “discredit” the Russian armed forces. The second provides sanctions for “calls for sanctions against Russia,” which is facing harsh Western retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine.
These texts, which are applicable to the media and to Russian and foreign individuals, came into force after approval by the Russian Parliament and ratification by President Vladimir Putin late this evening.
Foreign media are packing their bags
The independent Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta He said he was “forced to remove a lot of content” to avoid penalties, but wanted to “keep working”. Internationally, Bloomberg News and BBC (British Public Broadcasting) announced the suspension of their journalists’ activity, and the US news channel CNN broadcasts in Russia.
Bloomberg editor John Micklethwaite said the new law “appears to have been written to make every independent journalist a criminal, once associated, making it impossible to keep any form of journalism alive in the country”. The BBC will continue to provide reports in Russian from outside the country.
On Friday, Roskomnadzor also ordered the media regulator to immediately block Facebook, accusing it of “discriminating” against Russian media such as Defense Ministry TV Zvezda or the RIA Novosti news agency.
The social network in Russia no longer works without a VPN, and the American group lamentably emphasized that “millions of ordinary Russians will soon be deprived of reliable information.”
The regulator also began “restricting access” to Twitter, but the platform told AFP it was “not seeing any significant difference right now” with the access difficulties it had already faced for a week.
The authority had previously announced that it had restricted access to the BBC, German international radio and television Deutsche Welle (DW), independent Russian website Meduza (based in Riga, Latvia), Radio Svoboda, the Russian branch of RFE/RL, Voice of America and other Unnamed news sites.
On Thursday, the independent TV channel “Dogd” on the Internet announced the suspension of its activity, and the emblematic radio station Echo Moskvi (Echo of Moscow) announced its dissolution after blocking its websites.
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