The BBC suspends the work of its journalists in Russia

The British public broadcaster BBC announced this Friday the temporary suspension of the work of all its journalists in Russia, in response to a law that in its opinion criminalizes “independent journalism”.

The approval of a regulation that provides prison sentences of up to 15 years for disseminating “false information” has led the director general of the BBC, Tim Davie, to paralyze the work of his employees in Russia until he has analyzed in depth “all the implications” of that legislation. “The safety of our workers is paramount and we are not prepared to expose them to the risk of criminal prosecution simply for doing their job,” Davie said in a note released by the chain.

The public channel stresses that will continue to offer its international information service in Russian thanks to the work of employees located in other countries. “We remain committed to producing accurate and independent information for audiences around the world, including the millions of Russians who use our news services,” said the CEO.

Restriction of access to jellyfish and Radio Svoboda

The BBC also keeps journalists on the ground in Ukraine to report on the Kremlin-ordered invasion. At the request of the Russian General Prosecutor’s Office, two informational websites –jellyfish and Radio Svoboda– have been blocked this Friday as they are considered “foreign agents”, in an offensive against media critical of the government.

In both cases, the authorities alleged violations of the law “On Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information” that applies to the alleged dissemination of information that violates Russian law. The Russian service of the BBC and Deutsche Wellewhose service was previously closed in Russia.

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The Roscomnadzor media registry indicates that the licenses for these resources are no longer valid, as the EFE agency has been able to verify. Since Thursday afternoon, other services, such as Facebook, have been running with interruptions.

After the beginning of the invasion of Ukraine, Russia has tightened the screws on the media and limited access to the radio station echo of moscow and to the television channel Dozhd -also know as TV Rain-, media outlets critical of the Kremlin, for “false information” about the campaign in the neighboring country, after which both outlets announced their closure.

Veto in Europe to the Kremlin media

In the United Kingdom, this week the Russian channel RT has disappeared from television screens. Although London has not applied direct sanctions against the chain, the measures adopted by the European Union (EU) against its satellite broadcasts have also had an effect on British territory.

Last Wednesday became effective the Russian state media ban Sputnik and Russia Today (RT) in community territory. The European Commission points out that these platforms “are part of Russia’s war machine”, and makes them responsible for spreading “Putin’s lies”, which would endorse the veto of their broadcast.

The most popular social networks have also decided to silence in Europe Sputnik and RT. Google has blocked YouTube broadcasts from the two Kremlin-linked media outlets. For its part, Meta has restricted them on its platforms, which include Facebook and Instagram. Twitter has also joined the measure and has blocked the accounts of both.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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