Fifteen journalists who left Russia in the wake of tight restrictions imposed on the media regarding the Ukraine invasion have arrived in Turkey, the Bianet news website reported.
“Journalists had no choice but to leave the country, after Russia shut down the Western media and dictated its national media what to report amid the Ukraine war,” Erol Önderoğlu, Turkey representative for Reporters Without Borders (RSF), told Bianet on Tuesday.
Russia’s parliament passed a law on Friday imposing a jail term of up to 15 years for spreading intentionally “fake” news about the military, stepping up the information war over the conflict in Ukraine, Reuters reported.
The censorship, which builds on the Kremlin’s insistence that the attacks on Ukraine should not be labelled as a “war” or “invasion” rather a “special military operation,” amounts to disinformation, the New York Times said last week.
Several Western media organisations, including the BBC, CNN International and Bloomberg, have since suspended their operations in Russia. Lots of independent Russian media outlets also shut down their operations.
Many of the journalists came to Turkey to reach a safe place, Önderoğlu said.
“They aim to go to countries where they have family members or countries where they can do journalism in their own language,” he said.
So far, around 150 journalists have reportedly left Russia, and most of them were working for independent media outlets, according to Bianet.
Tikhon Dzyadko, a journalist working for TV Rain, Russia’s largest media outlet critical of the government, has also reportedly left Russia, the news website said.