The New York Times on Tuesday announced its editorial staff was pulling out of Russia over Moscow’s punitive new media law, following other outlets that have withdrawn over safety concerns.
Russian authorities have blocked several independent media outlets, and last week moved to impose harsh jail terms for “false news” about the army as part of its efforts to muffle dissent.
“Russia’s new legislation seeks to criminalize independent, accurate news reporting about the war against Ukraine,” the New York Times organization said in a statement.
“For the safety and security of our editorial staff working in the region, we are moving them out of the country for now,” it added.
The new law, signed by President Vladimir Putin on Friday, creates prison sentences of up to 15 years for spreading information aimed at “discrediting” military forces and also punishes any call to sanction Moscow.
Other Western media outlets have already suspended the activities of their correspondents in Russia for fear of reprisals, including Canada’s CBC/Radio Canada, the German ARD and ZDF, and the Spanish RTVE, as well as the American agency Bloomberg News and the Spanish EFE.
The BBC said it would resume English-language broadcasting from Russia Tuesday, after suspending its reporting as it examined the tough new media laws.
The New York Times said it was focused on “returning as soon as possible while we monitor the application of the new law.”