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Russian lawmakers approve bill on banning foreign media

Russia has repeatedly complained in recent months that Western countries were improperly restricting Russian media by banning their operation or denying visas to their journalists

June 30, 2022 / 05:23 PM IST
Russian lawmakers attend a session during a vote for the pension reform bill at the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, in Moscow Russia. (Reuters)

Russian lawmakers attend a session during a vote for the pension reform bill at the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, in Moscow Russia. (Reuters)

The lower house of Russias parliament gave final approval on June 30 to a bill that would allow the banning of foreign news media in response to other countries’ actions against Russian news outlets.

The Kremlin-controlled State Duma approved the bill on its final, third reading.

The equally pliant upper house of parliament is set to quickly rubber-stamp the measure before Russian President Vladimir Putin sgns it into law.

Russia has repeatedly complained in recent months that Western countries were improperly restricting Russian media by banning their operation or denying visas to their journalists.

In early June, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called in representatives of American media, including The Associated Press, to warn that they could be denied renewal of their visas and accreditation.

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The new bill also allows Russias prosecutor general to cancel the registration of media outlets for disseminating illegal, dangerous, unreliable publicly significant information or information expressing clear disrespect for society, the state, the Constitution of the Russian Federation, as well as aimed at discrediting the Russian armed forces.

Many foreign news organizations suspended or curtailed their operations in Russia following the passage in March of a law calling for up to 15 years in prison for reports seen as discrediting the Russian military.

The Russian Foreign Ministry in May ordered the closure of the Moscow bureau pf the state-funded Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in response to Canadas ban on RT, a Russian state-controlled broadcaster.

In February, as Russia built up troops along Ukraines border, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle was ordered to close in Moscow after Germany banned the broadcast of RTs German-language programs.

Russia in recent years has persistently clamped down on independent journalism. Following the start of the Ukraine conflict, many significant independent news media shut down or suspended operations.

They included the Ekho Moskvy radio station and the Novaya Gazeta newspaper, whose editor, Dmitry Muratov, was last years co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize.
Associated Press
first published: Jun 30, 2022 05:02 pm
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