Russian lawmakers adopted a law on Thursday allowing the closure of media in countries classified as “unfriendly” and the suspension of Russian media accused of publishing information deemed untrue about the conflict in Ukraine.
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The text in particular gives the prosecution the right to “ban or restrict activities in Russia” to media from foreign countries whose governments have shown themselves to be “unfriendly” toward Russian media, according to the website of the lower house of parliament.
This text was introduced as a retaliatory measure, as many Western countries banned broadcasting on their territory of Russian media, such as the several-language news channel of the Russian state RT, accusing them of being “tools of disinformation from the Kremlin.”
The text also allows the Public Prosecution Office to suspend the activities of any Russian media guilty of publishing information deemed misleading to “lack respect for society, the state or the constitution” or even information that “discredits the armed forces of Russia.”
For this law to enter into force, it must still be passed by the upper house of parliament, which must be a formality, and then signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Dissemination of “false information” about the actions of the Russian military is already punishable by 15 years in prison in Russia, a punishment imposed in the wake of the Russian attack on Ukraine.
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