The Kremlin has defended the necessary “firmness” of the law on suppression of “false information” about the Russian Armywith the aim of confronting an “information war without precedent” that, he considers, is being waged against Russia in relation to the Ukraine conflict.
“In the context of information warfare, it was necessary to adopt a law whose firmness is adapted to the facts“, assured this Saturday at a press conference the spokesman for the Russian Presidency, Dmitry Peskovone day after the entry into force of the text, which imposes strong sanctions on the dissemination of any information considered false about the Russian Army.
“The law was urgently needed due to the unprecedented information war that has been unleashed against our country,” added Peskov.
The approval of the law caused several international media -such as the British public broadcaster BBC and the americans CNN and Bloomberg– will announce on Friday the temporary suspension of the work of all their journalists in Russia, in response to a legal measure that, in their opinion, criminalizes “independent journalism”.
Also German public broadcasters ARD and ZDF have decided to temporarily suspend their coverage from Moscow to “examine the consequences” of the law, although they have indicated that they will continue “exhaustively informing the public” about the conflict.
The Russian President, Vladimir Putinsigned the norm, approved unanimously by both chambers of the Russian Parliament, and which foresees punishing with between 10 and 15 years in prison the dissemination of false information about the Armed Forces with “serious consequences”.
In addition, it provides prison sentences of up to 5 years for “public actions” that seek to discredit the employment of the Armed Forces in “defending the interests of Russia and its citizens, in preserving international security and peace”. Lastly, legislative innovation punishes up to 3 years in prison calls on other countries to establish sanctions against Russia.
The information battle
After the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine both sides are waging a information battle. Russia, for its part, has tried to limit the dissemination of news to some media critical of Putin’s policy in the conflict. On Friday, news websites jellyfish and Radio Svoboda They were blocked at the request of the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, considering them “foreign agents”. The Russian service of the BBC and Deutsche Wellewhose service was previously closed in Russia.
In addition, the Russian communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, decided on Friday block access in Russia to social networks Facebook and Twitter in response to the “censorship” of Russian media accounts.
Meta, parent company of Facebook, announced this week that had restricted access to the Russian media RT and Sputnik throughout the European Union, and that it was globally reducing the content of the Facebook pages and Instagram accounts of Russian state-controlled media.
As well The West tries to stop the spread of information from Russiasince he considers that some media are “part of the war machine” of the Kremlin and that they spread “Putin’s lies”.
It is the case of RT and Sputnikwhich since Wednesday are prohibited in the territory of the European Uniona measure that Google has also carried out, blocking these media on YouTube throughout Europe.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.