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Russian law on ‘fake news’ causes media to stop reporting as websites are blocked

  • To fight back in the information war, Russia’s parliament on Friday passed a law imposing a prison sentence of up to 15 years for deliberately spreading “fake” news about the military.
  • CNN and CBS News said they would stop broadcasting in Russia, and other businesses removed the bylines of Russian-based journalists as they assessed the situation.
  • Russia blocks Facebook from restricting state-sponsored channels and websites for the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America.

Russia blocked Facebook and some other websites and passed a law that gave Moscow much stronger powers to crack down on independent journalism, prompting the BBC, Bloomberg and other foreign media to suspend reporting in the country.

War raged in Ukraine for a 10th day Saturday, when Russian troops besieged and bombed cities, in the largest attack on a European state since World War II.

The fighting has created over 1 million refugees, a barrage of sanctions that increasingly isolate Moscow and fears in the West of a broader conflict that has been unchecked for decades.

Moscow says its invasion is a “special operation” to capture people it considers dangerous nationalists and has denied targeting civilians.

Kyiv, on its way from a Russian armored column that has been stuck outside the Ukrainian capital for several days, came under renewed attack, with explosions audible from the city center.

Russian forces have surrounded and shelled the southeastern port city of Mariupol – a key prize. There is no water, heat or electricity, and it is running out of food after five days of attacks, according to Mayor Vadym Boychenko.

“We are simply being destroyed,” he said.

President Vladimir Putin’s actions have aroused almost universal condemnation, and many countries have imposed heavy sanctions as the West balances punishment by avoiding an escalation of the conflict.

To fight back in the information war, Russia’s parliament on Friday passed a law imposing a prison sentence of up to 15 years for deliberately spreading “fake” news about the military.

“This law will impose punishment – and very harsh punishment – on those who lied and made statements that discredited our armed forces,” said Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament.

Russia blocks Facebook from restricting state-sponsored channels and websites for the BBC, Deutsche Welle and Voice of America.

CNN and CBS News said they would stop broadcasting in Russia, and other businesses removed the bylines of Russian-based journalists as they assessed the situation.

MORE SANCTIONS ON THE WAY?

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy is expected to push Washington for more help in a Zoom call with the entire U.S. Senate at 6 p.m. 9:30 ET (1430 GMT) on Saturday.

The United States is considering cuts in Russian oil imports and ways to minimize the impact on global supplies and consumers, as lawmakers are speeding up a bill that would ban Russian energy imports. Global oil prices rose by more than 20% this week due to concerns about a decline in supply.

At a meeting on Friday, NATO allies rejected Ukraine’s call for no-fly zones, saying they were increasing support but that direct action could make the situation worse.

“We have a responsibility … to prevent this war from escalating beyond Ukraine because it would be even more dangerous, more destructive and would cause even more human suffering,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

Zelenskiy called the summit “weak” and “confused.”

“It was clear that not everyone considers the struggle for Europe’s freedom to be the number one goal,” he said.

Several EU sanctions were on the way, potentially including a ban on Russian flags in European ports and a blockade on imports of steel, timber, aluminum or coal, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday told UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that talks with Ukraine on a peaceful end to the conflict “had not moved from the starting point,” Tass news agency said.

HUMANITAR DISASTER

A humanitarian catastrophe is unfolding, with more than 1 million people seeking refuge in western Ukraine and neighboring countries.

A Friday attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, about 140 miles (230 km) west of Mariupol, brought the conflict to a dangerous moment, but officials later said the plant was safe.

The facility and the adjacent area were now guarded by Russian troops, Moscow’s envoy told the UN.

The US UN ambassador, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, said the world had hardly averted a nuclear catastrophe.

The attack reflected a “dangerous new escalation” in Russia’s invasion, she said during an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council and demanded assurances from Moscow that such an attack would not happen again.

Russian forces have made their biggest advance in the south, capturing their first major Ukrainian city, Kherson, this week. The bombing has worsened in recent days in the northeastern cities of Kharkiv and Chernihiv.

Ukrainian Presidential Adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said an advance had been halted at the southern port of Mykolayiv. If captured, the city of 500,000 people will be the largest that has not yet fallen.

Russian law on ‘fake news’ causes media to stop reporting as websites are blocked

Source link Russian law on ‘fake news’ causes media to stop reporting as websites are blocked

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