Russian Parliament Allows Closure of Western News Bureaus

The Russian parliament approved a bill that will allow the closure of Western news bureaus that have been “unfriendly” to Russian media.

The bill, which passed the first reading in the Duma, also prohibits the circulation of articles or other materials from media that have been shut down by the prosecutor’s office.

Russian lawmakers deemed the bill a “symmetrical response” to the closure of some Russian state-run news outlets in the West.

“The draft law gives the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation or his deputies the exclusive right to invalidate the registration of a mass media outlet and to terminate the license for television broadcasting and radio broadcasting in the event that the facts of the distribution of illegal, dangerous information by the media and the broadcaster, including unreliable socially significant information,” read the explanatory note of the bill.

The bill would also allow the revocation of journalists’ accreditation from any media if they are found to be in violation of the law, which would prevent them from attending state agency meetings or obtaining official information. 

EU countries terminated the broadcasting licenses of the Kremlin-backed RT and Sputnik in March as part of a broader sanctions package against Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The bill must still be approved by the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house, and signed by President Vladimir Putin before becoming law.

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