Other news outlets have announced they will suspend reporting from Russia
CNN announced on Friday it will stop broadcasting in Russia after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that will criminalize anyone sharing “deliberately false information about the actions of Russian military personnel in Ukraine.”
Putin on Friday signed into law the measure that will penalize those who spread such information with fines or prison sentences. The law would impose up to three years or fines, but the maximum punishment rises to 15 years for cases considered to have led to “severe consequences.”
Russian lawmakers also passed amendments to the criminal code that would impose fines for people calling for sanctions against Russia.
“CNN will stop broadcasting in Russia while we continue to evaluate the situation and our next steps moving forward,” a spokesperson for the media said on Friday.
Other news outlets have announced they will suspend reporting from Russia. Bloomberg, the BBC, and the CBC were among the outlets that will temporarily suspend the work of their journalists there.
Bloomberg’s editor-in-chief, John Micklethwait, said that the change to the criminal code “makes it impossible to continue any semblance of normal journalism inside the country.”
BBC Director-General Tim Davie said the new law “appears to criminalize the process of independent journalism,” adding, “the safety of our staff is paramount and we are not prepared to expose them to the risk of criminal prosecution simply for doing their jobs.” BBC News in the Russian language will still be produced from outside the country.
The CBC said in a statement posted online that it is “very concerned” about the new law, which it says “appears to criminalize independent reporting on the current situation in Ukraine and Russia.”
Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of Russia’s lower house of parliament, said the new law “will force those who lied and made statements discrediting our armed forces to bear very grave punishment.”
“I want everyone to understand, and for society to understand, that we are doing this to protect our soldiers and officers, and to protect the truth,” he added.
Earlier on Friday, Russia’s communications watchdog Roskomnadzor said it blocked access to Facebook and Twitter in line with a decision by the prosecutor general’s office.