WASHINGTON (AA) – The New York Times is pulling all of its staff from Russia because of a new law that critics say criminalizes independent journalism.
“Russia’s new legislation seeks to criminalize independent, accurate news reporting about the war against Ukraine. For the safety and security of our editorial staff working in the region, we are moving them out of the country for now,” a spokeswoman for The Times, Danielle Rhoades Ha, said in a statement.
“We will continue our live, robust coverage of the war and our rigorous reporting on Russia’s offensive in Ukraine and these attempts to stifle independent journalism,” she added.
The law, signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday, punishes with up to 15 years in prison journalists convicted of circulating information deemed “false” by the Russian government about its ongoing war in Ukraine. That includes calling Russia’s war a “war.”
Media outlets, including the BBC, CNN, ZDF, and Bloomberg previously announced that they suspended their operations in Russia.
Russia’s war on Ukraine has drawn international condemnation, led to financial sanctions on Moscow and spurred an exodus of global firms from Russia.
The West has also imposed biting export restrictions on key technologies that are now prohibited from being sent to Russia.
At least 406 civilians have been killed and 801 injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the war, according to the UN, while also noting that conditions on the ground make it difficult to verify the true number.
Some 2 million people have also fled to neighboring countries, said the UN refugee agency.