BBC Pulls Out Journalists After Russia Passes Censorship Law | #socialmedia | #education | #technology | #infosec

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The BBC is withdrawing its journalists from Russia after the country passed a draconian censorship law on Friday that would directly impact journalists in the country.

The Duma, Russia’s parliament, passed a bill enabling anyone accused of publishing “false information” regarding Russia’s military to be prosecuted and potentially imprisoned.

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BBC director general Tim Davie said: “This legislation appears 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.”

“Our BBC News service in Russian will continue to operate from outside Russia.

“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. I’d like to pay tribute to all of them, for their bravery, determination and professionalism.

Video: Russia passes law to control information conveyed by media

“We remain committed to making accurate, independent information available to audiences around the world, including the millions of Russians who use our news services. Our journalists in Ukraine and around the world will continue to report on the invasion of Ukraine,” Davie added.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to record audiences for the BBC’s Russian and Ukrainian language news service websites in Russia and Ukraine. The BBC Russian news website more than tripled its year-to-date weekly average, and audiences for the BBC’s Ukrainian language site more than doubled year-to-date.

“In a conflict where disinformation and propaganda is rife, there is a clear need for factual and independent news people can trust – and in a significant development, millions more Russians are turning to the BBC,” Davie had said on Wednesday.

Russia has been cracking down on media access, reportedly blocking access to social media, restricting access to the BBC and cracking down on independent media, with a number of outlets disbanding or shutting down altogether.

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