Russia: Censorship of independent media over war coverage

On March 1, Russian authorities blocked access to two of the country's leading independent media outlets, Dozhd TV and Ekho Moskvy radio for allegedly spreading "deliberately false information" about the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The International and European Federations of Journalists (IFJ and EFJ) have condemned this decision as an attempt to silence media coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Picture credit: Thibault Camus/Pool/AFP.

Six days after Russian troops attacked Ukraine, Russia's Prosecutor General ordered the country's media watchdog to "restrict access" to the media after they were accused of publishing "information calling for extremist activity and violence" and "deliberately false information about the actions of Russian military personnel" in Ukraine.

Russian authorities are increasing pressure on journalists covering the fighting in Ukraine. The State Duma is due to discuss a bill introducing criminal penalties for false news reports about Russian military operations on Friday 4 March. 

The chairman of the State Duma's Security and Anti-Corruption Committee, Vasily Piskaryov, said on 28 February that the bill was being drafted and said that such crimes would be punishable by up to 15 years' imprisonment.

In addition, dozens of media workers and independent media - including Dozhd TV - have been designated "foreign agents" by the authorities, a term reminiscent of the Soviet era, forcing them to disclose funding sources and to label publications - including social media posts - with a label or face fines.

IFJ General Secretary Anthony Bellanger said: "The restrictive measures on Russian independent outlets are new attempts from the Kremlin to limit the access to free information in Russian territory. We condemn this censorship".

For more information, please contact IFJ on +32 2 235 22 16

The IFJ represents more than 600,000 journalists in 146 countries

Follow the IFJ on TwitterFacebook and Instagram

Subscribe to IFJ News