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Russian parliament gives green light to closure of ‘unfriendly’ Western news outlets – Reuters


Russia’s parliament on Tuesday passed a bill allowing authorities to shut down news outlets in Western countries that have been “unfriendly” to Russian media.

The bill, which lawmakers said was a ‘symmetrical response’ to moves by Western countries to shut down Russian media, would allow Moscow’s attorney general to terminate the registration or licensing of any media of these countries sharing “illegal, dangerous” or “unreliable” information. information of public importance.”

Journalists from any outlet found to be in breach of this law would have their accreditation revoked, which means they would be banned from attending meetings organized by state agencies and from requesting official information. Working without a permit means they can also risk hefty fines.

After being passed by the Duma, the lower house of Russia’s parliament, the bill still needs to be voted on by the country’s upper house, the Federation Council, and signed by President Vladimir Putin before taking effect. .

EU countries have suspended broadcasting rights to Kremlin-backed RT and Sputnik as part of a wider sanctions package introduced by the bloc in early March after Russia launched its brutal invasion of the ‘Ukraine.

Many Western media outlets have already withdrawn their employees from Russia or suspended operations out of concern for staff safety, including Bloomberg and CNN International. Others, including AFP, still have active offices in the country.

Almost all independent Russian media have been forced to shut down or suspend operations after Moscow passed draconian laws criminalizing the dissemination of “false information” about Russian state activities abroad, including the war in Ukraine. Violation of the law, first passed in March, can result in a sentence of up to 15 years in prison.



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