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Russia bans media stations from broadcasting, to jail those spreading fake news 15 years

Some global media outlets have suspended their operations in Russia after President Vladimir Putin signed into law a new bill that punishes the spreading of “fake news” with jail terms of up to 15 years.

Following the development, CNN International, the global arm of CNN, ABC and CBS News has announced that it will stop broadcasting in Russia.

Bloomberg News, the BBC and Canada’s CBC also said they were temporarily suspending the work of their journalists inside Russia.

This is coming after some Russian officials claimed that false information has been spread by enemies such as the United States and its Western European allies in an attempt to sow discord among the Russian people.

Bloomberg’s Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait said he greatly regretted the suspension. But “the change to the criminal code, which seems designed to turn any independent reporter into a criminal purely by association, makes it impossible to continue any semblance of normal journalism inside the country,” he said. “We will not do that to our reporters.”

BBC Director General Tim Davie said the new legislation appeared to criminalise the process of independent journalism.

“It leaves us no other option than to temporarily suspend the work of all BBC News journalists and their support staff within the Russian Federation while we assess the full implications of this unwelcome development,” he said in a statement.

He added that the BBC News Service in Russian would continue to operate from outside Russia. Jonathan Munro, an interim director of BBC News, said the corporation was not “pulling out” journalists from Moscow but assessing the new law’s effect.

The Washington Post, Dow Jones and the Reuters news agency said they were evaluating the new media law and the situation.

CBS News stated that it is no longer broadcasting from the country: ‘CBS News is not currently broadcasting from Russia as we monitor the circumstances for our team on the ground given the new media laws passed today.’

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