The New York Times, citing the safety of employees, said it will temporarily remove editorial staffers from Russia after the country outlawed the publication of news about the war in Ukraine that the Kremlin deems “false.”
On Friday, Russia passed a law making it illegal to publish “false information” about Russia’s military. Violators face potential fines, forced labor and up to 15 years in prison. Under the new law, journalists who call the war a “war” could be prosecuted and sentenced to prison.
Previously, news organizations including Bloomberg News, CBC and the BBC had said they were suspending their on-the-ground reporting from Russia. [Update: BBC on Tuesday said it was resuming in-country reporting.] TV networks including CNN and CBS News said they would stop broadcasting in the country because of the new law.
“Russia’s new legislation seeks to criminalize independent, accurate news reporting about the war against Ukraine,” a rep for the New York Times said in a statement. “For the safety and security of our editorial staff working in the region, we are moving them out of the country for now. We look forward to them returning as soon as possible while we monitor the application of the new law. 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.”
In a memo Tuesday to staffers, Michael Slackman, assistant managing editor, international, for the New York Times, wrote in part, “We will continue our live, robust coverage of the war, and have every intention of maintaining our rigorous reporting on Russia’s offensive in Ukraine and these attempts to stifle independent journalism.”
As a former Moscow bureau chief for @nytimes, I am saddened to report that we are pulling our journalists from Russia.
Here is a statement from @meslackman, assistant managing editor, to the company. pic.twitter.com/TGrb2w2wqB
— Cliff Levy (@cliffordlevy) March 8, 2022