Russian lawmakers approve bill to ban foreign media

Russian lawmakers approve bill to ban foreign media

Sydney, 2022-06-30 07:48:53. Russian lawmakers approve bill to ban foreign media

Moscow –

Russia’s lower house of parliament gave final approval Thursday to a bill that would allow foreign media to be banned in response to other countries’ actions against Russian media.

The Kremlin-controlled State Duma approved the bill in its final and third reading. The upper house of parliament is set to approve the measure quickly before Russian President Vladimir Putin signs it into law.

Russia has repeatedly complained in recent months that Western countries inappropriately restrict Russian media by banning its operations or refusing to grant visas to its journalists. In early June, State Department spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called on representatives of the US media, including the Associated Press, to warn that they may be denied the renewal of their visas and accreditation.

The new bill also allows the Russian Prosecutor General to deregister the media for publishing “important, illegal, dangerous and unreliable information or information that expresses apparent disrespect for society, the state and the Constitution of the Russian Federation, as well as aimed at discrediting the Russian Armed Forces.”

Several foreign news organizations have suspended or scaled back their operations in Russia after the passage of a law in March calling for prison sentences of up to 15 years over reports seen as discrediting the Russian military.

The Russian Foreign Ministry in May ordered the closure of the state-funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Moscow office in response to Canada’s ban on Russia’s state-controlled broadcaster RT.

In February, as Russia reinforced its forces along the Ukrainian border, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle was ordered to shut down in Moscow after Germany banned broadcasts of German-language RT programmes.

In recent years, Russia has been cracking down on the independent press. After the outbreak of conflict in Ukraine, many independent news media closed or suspended their operations. Among them were the radio station Ekho Moskvy and the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, whose editor, Dmitry Muratov, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize last year.

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