BBC suspends Russian news operations amid restrictions on free speech – POLITICO

The BBC is temporarily suspending the work of all of its journalists in Russia amid draconian new free speech laws backed by Russia’s parliament, the channel’s director said on Friday.

“The safety of our employees is paramount and we are not willing to put them at risk of prosecution just for doing their job.” called Tim Davie in a statement, adding that while the BBC assesses the impact of the new laws, he had “no choice” but to cease operations.

The move came after lawmakers in the Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, tuned on Friday unanimously backed a law punishing those who disseminate information that counters state narratives about Vladimir Putin’s war in Ukraine. Spreading “fake news” about the Russian military and its “special military operation” in Ukraine could be punishable with up to 15 years in prison if found.

It also follows the BBC’s decision stop licensing its TV content on Tuesday condemning the invasion.

BBC news director Jonathan Munro confirmed the move would not mean withdrawing journalists from Moscow but would temporarily halt their production. “They remain valued members of our teams and we hope to bring them back into our production as soon as possible,” he says called.

Also the Russian government access blocked Friday to a range of foreign media outlets including the BBC, Voice of America, Deutsche Welle and Radio Free Europe. Roskomnadzor, Russia’s communications regulator, said it was acting through these channels because of the “targeted systematic dissemination of false information” about the conflict in Ukraine. BBC suspends Russian news operations amid restrictions on free speech - POLITICO

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