The list of media suspending their activities in Russia grows after the adoption of a law which severely condemns the publication of “false information”.
Fearing reprisals, the Spanish-language news agency EFE, the daily El Pais and the Spanish public broadcaster RTVE announced on Saturday that they were temporarily ending their coverage of Russia.
These Spanish media are following in the footsteps of many other press organs which have withdrawn their correspondents from Russia: the British public broadcasters BBC, Canadian CBC/Radio Canada, or German ARD and ZDF, the Bloomberg News agency, American television channels CNN and CBS or the Italian television channel RAI.
On the French side, the public radio group Radio France indicated on Saturday that it was waiting for a legal expertise to decide whether or not to suspend the correspondence of its journalists in Russia.
Up to 15 years in prison
Some journalists make the decision themselves to reduce their activities. The correspondent of Le Monde in Russia Benoît Vitkine has thus taken the decision to “not publish anything more” on his Twitter account “because of the laws adopted by Russia within the framework of its “special operation” in Ukraine”. The journalist specifies that he is continuing his coverage of Russia for his newspaper.
The new Russian law, signed by President Vladimir Putin on Friday, provides for prison sentences of up to 15 years in prison for spreading “false information about the Russian military, especially if it has serious consequences for the armed forces”.
A particularly vague formulation which leaves the field open to a repression of independent journalists.
Since the start of the conflict in Ukraine, the authorities have also prohibited the use of the words “war”, “invasion” or even “offensive” in the media.