The US government-funded news organization Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) has become another Western outlet to suspend its operations in Russia, amid the country’s ongoing attack on Ukraine.
“It is with the deepest regret that I announce today the suspension of our physical operations in Moscow,” RFE/RL President and CEO Jamie Fly said in a statement early Sunday.
“This is not a decision that RFE/RL made of its own free will, but a decision imposed on us by the Putin regime’s assault on the truth,” he stated.
RFE/RL explained the movement by the bankruptcy procedure which was launched on Friday against its Russian entity, and “intensified” the pressure on its journalists from the police.
Another reason given by the outlet was a new law that makes the deliberate dissemination of “false information” on the Russian army punishable by 15 years in prison and a heavy fine.
According to RFE/RL, nine of its Russian-language websites have been blocked due to their coverage of the Russian incursion into Ukraine over the past week.
“Because RFE/RL journalists continue to tell the truth about Russia’s catastrophic invasion of its neighbor, the company plans to report on these developments from outside Russia,” It said.
Tax authorities have filed bankruptcy proceedings against RFE/RL over more than 1,000 fines worth $13.4 million imposed on the US-sponsored news organization by the watchdog of the Russian media Roskomnadzor for refusing to affix the mention “foreign agent” on its contents in violation of the law.
Earlier this week, the BBC, CNN, ABC News, CBS News and Bloomberg also suspended operations in Russia over the “fake news” law, which they said was an attempt to criminalize independent journalism.
Moscow argues that the law was necessary to resist the “information warfare” waged against it by the West in the midst of the Ukrainian conflict.
Russian troops were sent to Ukraine last Thursday to “denazify” and “demilitarize” the government in Kiev, which Moscow says is responsible for “genocide” in the separatist republics of Donetsk and Luhansk.
Ukraine rejected Russia’s justification for the incursion, calling it an unprovoked attack and calling for international support.
You can share this story on social media: