US-funded media to end operations in Russia
Moscow was accused of "an assault on the truth," by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), a US government-funded news agency, has become yet another Western media to stop operations in Russia amid the country's operation in Ukraine.
RFE/RL President & CEO Jamie Fly stated in a statement released early Sunday that “It is with the deepest regret that I announce the suspension of our physical operations in Moscow today."
“This is not a decision that RFE/RL has taken of its own accord, but one that has been forced upon us by the Putin regime’s assault on the truth,” he said.
Days ago, as part of the campaign of sanctions against Russia after its military operation in Ukraine, Google Europe has blocked Youtube channels connected to RT and Sputnik across Europe "effective immediately."
The action by RFE/RL came as a result of the bankruptcy procedures started against its Russian subsidiary on Friday, as well as "intensified" pressure from law enforcement on its journalists.
The publication's announcement emerged as a new ruling that makes the spreading of "false information" about Russia's military a crime punishable by up to 15 years in jail with fines.
RFE/RL reports that nine of its Russian-language websites have been stopped as a result of their coverage of Russia's military operation in Ukraine during the last week.
“Because RFE/RL journalists continue to tell the truth about Russia’s catastrophic invasion of its neighbor, the company plans to report about these developments from outside of Russia,” it said.
Yesterday, following the BBC, CNN, ABC News, CBS News, and Bloomberg suspended operations in Russia owing to the 'fake news' law, which they characterized as an attempt to punish independent media.
Italy's public television channel RAI also decided to suspend reporting from Russia after the legislation was enacted in Moscow, backing the imposition of jail terms on media publishing "false information" about the military.
Moscow says the measure is vital to combat anti-Russian propaganda that is bombarding internet users.
Russia launched a special operation to demilitarize and "denazify" Ukraine, in response to requests from the Donetsk and Lugansk people's republics for assistance in combating Ukrainian troops' aggression. The special operation is only targeting Ukrainian military facilities, according to the Russian Defense Ministry, and the civilian population is not at risk. Moscow has stated that it has no intention of occupying Ukraine.
Despite the Ukrainian leadership's pleas, the US and NATO have declined to intervene directly in the conflict.
According to Meta's Vice President of Global Affairs and Communications Nick Clegg, the company has limited access to the RT broadcaster and the Sputnik news agency across the European Union.
Clegg announced Monday on Twitter that "We have received requests from a number of Governments and the EU to take further steps in relation to Russian state-controlled media. Given the exceptional nature of the current situation, we will be restricting access to RT and Sputnik across the EU at this time."