At least 150 journalists have reportedly left Russia so far after they were threatened to be sent behind bars for 15-year for reporting false news on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) Representative for Turkey, Erol Onderoglu said that among 150 journalists, 15 of them arrived in Turkey from Russia.
Most journalists, who were working for independent media outlets, left Russia after Moscow on March 4, had announced a new law in which journalists can get 15-year prison terms for “sharing fake news” and discrediting the army.
The Russian lawmakers have also decided to impose fines for those who publicly call for sanctions against Russia.
The names of the fled journalists to Turkey have not been disclosed due to security concerns.
Tikhon Dzyadko, a journalist working for TV Rain, the largest media outlet in Russia critical of the government, has also reportedly left Russia.
“As Russia has censored journalists and harassed them for years with foreign agent status, journalists had no option but to leave the country after it shut down the Western media and dictated the national media what to report amid the Ukraine war,” Onderoglu added.
“The journalists come here in Turkey to save their lives,” Onderoglue said, adding, fleeing journalists are trying to reach Georgia or Eastern European countries.
RSF has called on the Russian authorities to immediately repeal a draconian law adopted on 4 March that makes the publication of “false” or “mendacious” information about the Russian armed forces punishable by up to 15 years in prison.
“It leaves little hope for the future of the country’s few remaining independent media outlets,” RSF said in a statement.
Many leading foreign media, including the BBC, CNN, Bloomberg News, ABC, CBS News, and Canada’s CBC/Radio-Canada, have decided to temporarily suspend broadcasting or newsgathering in Russia since the amendment, according to RSF.
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