BBC Suspends Reporting in Russia After Country Passes New 'Fake News' Law

The law imposes a jail sentence of up to 15 years for a person spreading fake news about the Russian military.

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The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) said on Friday, 4 March, that it was suspending all its journalism operations in Russia after the country introduced a new law that would lead to imprisonment for a person found to be spreading "fake news" intentionally.

The law, introduced by Russia's parliament on Friday, imposes a jail sentence of up to 15 years for a person spreading fake news about the Russian military. It also includes fines for those found publicly demanding sanctions against Russia.

Tim Davie, Director General, BBC, put out a statement saying that the new law would lead to the criminalisation 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," Davie said.

He also said that the BBC news service in Russian would continue outside Russia, reported Reuters.

"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," Davie added.

The media house has released a guide on how its website can be accessed from Russia.

"Access to BBC websites has been restricted in Russia – here’s advice on how to access BBC News," it said in a post on Instagram.

Later on Friday, Canada's public broadcaster CBC and Bloomberg News said they, too, had temporarily halted reporting from Russia, and news channel CNN said it would stop broadcasting in the country.

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Topics:  Journalism   BBC   Russia 

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