Italian, German state radio station stops news coverage in Russia over new media law

Ukrainian and Russian flags can be seen through broken glass in this photo taken March 1, 2022. REUTERS / Dado Ruvic / Illustration

March 5, 2022

ROME (Reuters) – Italian state radio RAI said on Saturday that it was halting operations in Russia to “protect the safety” of its reporters after Moscow passed a law threatening imprisonment for up to 15 years for spreading what the government calls fake news.

Germany’s major public service broadcasters, ARD and ZDF, also said on Saturday that they had stopped coverage of the studio in question in Moscow “for the time being”.

They joined a growing number of international media outlets, including the British BBC, Canadian Broadcasting Company and Bloomberg News, to halt news coverage in Russia.

“This measure is necessary to protect the security of local journalists and (ensure) maximum freedom of information about the country,” RAI said in a statement.

It added that news about Russia would be provided by journalists working in neighboring countries or back in Italy. RAI did not say how many journalists it now has in Russia.

A spokesman for WDR, ARD’s regional partner, said “ARD and ZDF are examining the consequences of the law passed on Friday and are postponing coverage from their Moscow studios for the time being”.

The spokesman said that the two radio stations would continue to provide viewers with information about events in Russia and Ukraine from their other locations, the spokesman said.

Russian officials have repeatedly said that false information was disseminated by Russia’s enemies, such as the United States and its allies in Western Europe, in an attempt to settle disputes among the Russian people.

Russia’s lower house of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of the Duma, said on Friday that “literally tomorrow, these laws will impose punishments – and very harsh punishments – on those who lie and make statements that discredit our armies.”

Italy has traditionally had closer ties with Russia than many other Western nations, with former Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi forming particularly close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

In December, Prime Minister Mario Draghi asked if EU sanctions could work against Moscow, but he has since agreed to crack down on Russia, even though officials have said it could trigger an energy crisis in Italy, which imports about 40 percent of its gas from Russia. .

(Crispian Balmer reports in Rome; Additional reports by Elke Ahlswede in Frankfurt; Editing by Frances Kerry)

Italian, German state radio station stops news coverage in Russia over new media law

Source link Italian, German state radio station stops news coverage in Russia over new media law

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