Five questions on the censorship law voted in Russia, which condemns any “false information” about the military

Vladimir Putin “clearly putting his country under glass”warned Reporters Without Borders on franceinfo on Friday, March 4. The law, which was adopted on Friday (March 4th) and went into effect Saturday, intensifies the crackdown on the media and anti-war opponents in Ukraine.

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Since the Russian armies attacked Ukraine on Thursday (February 24th), the Moscow government has been folding the country over itself. Pressure on independent national and foreign media is increasing on Russian soil. On the sidelines of this law, the social network Facebook was blocked on Friday. Franceinfo returns with five questions about this oppressive turn.

What does the law signed by Vladimir Putin say?

The lower house of the Russian Parliament, the Duma, unanimously voted this law on Friday, March 4th. The law, signed by Vladimir Putin in the process and already in force on Saturday, March 5th, imposes heavy penalties – up to fifteen years in prison – for broadcasters. “Incorrect information about the Russian military, especially if it has serious consequences for the armed forces”.

Another change provides penalties “Call to impose sanctions on Russia” These texts apply to both the media and individuals as well as foreign journalists.

The Kremlin quickly defended “hardness” against his law “information warfare” According to the force, the conduct against Russia was predicted by Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Saturday.

What are the consequences of this law?

As of Friday, the law had its first effects. Russian independent media Znak has shut down its site New York Times. this Novaya NewspaperThe most famous of the Russian independent newspapers, which has condemned the six journalists killed since its establishment, announced that it would be abolished. “materials” over “hostilities” to avoid sanctions, Friday-Saturday night excitement. “Everything that is not propaganda is eliminated”, told his editor, Dmitri MuratovNobel Peace Prize, New York Times. Now only the use of a VPN allows Russians to consult international sites.

this law “Makes it impossible to practice the journalism profession”notes Anna Colin Lebedev, p.Specialist and m in post-Soviet societiesLecturer at the University of Paris-Nanterreover excitement. Locks the possibility of sharing on social networks.” According to him, the wording in the amendment is as follows: “very vague and leaves a lot of room for interpretation”. “For example, prison sentences can be maximized if the dissemination of information leads to ‘serious consequences’. But ‘serious consequences’ are not defined”notes.

“We are returning to an almost totalitarian form of media control, as in the days of Stalinism”condemns Christophe Deloire, secretary general of Reporters Without Borders (RSF), was the guest of franceinfo on Friday, March 4th.

In what context does this censorship take place?

This law is the final step in a long series of crackdowns on independent and dissident voices from the Kremlin.Thousands of Russians were arrested in protests against the occupation of Russian soldiers.

The media was particularly targeted. Before the vote, Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor, thereby restricting access to several American and European media. Russian opposition media Dojd and Moscow’s Echo closed on Thursday after being blocked by the Kremlin.

The Moscow government has also been silencing freedom of expression by blocking the social network Facebook since Friday. Thus, the Kremlin is punishing the American company called by the EU to block media close to Russian power in Europe, such as the RT channel, the Sputnik site or the Defense Ministry television channel Zvezda.

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However, the social network is one of the means of expressing criticism against the widely disseminated power “through texting,” notes Natalia Krapiva, tech lawyer for NGO Access Now, quoted by AFP. “So this is a devastating blow to access to independent information and war resistance.”

The Russian regulator has already begun to restrict access to Twitter. Doubt hangs on Instagram and YouTube platforms. “People run the risk of not knowing the truth anymore”Natalia Krapiva complains.

How did western countries react?

text “Looks like it was written to make every freelancer criminal”The editor of the Bloomberg agency is angry John Micklethwait. The BBC has announced that it will suspend the work of its journalists in Russia, such as CNN, ABC or Radio Canada.

French correspondents in Moscow world and Radio France announced on Saturday that they are suspending their Twitter posts about the conflict due to this law. A necessary break “Time to evaluate the repercussions of the new measures taken in Russia”Radio France correspondent Sylvain Tronchet, excitement.

German public television channels ARD and ZDF also announced on Saturday (March 5th) that their broadcasts in Moscow were temporarily suspended. The two chains should take their time, according to a press release“think about the consequences” latest Russian law. Same for Italian RAI.

On Friday, Cogent Communications, an American internet service provider, “Finished” Contracts with customers in Russia as tech giants like Apple and Microsoft have stopped selling their products in Russia.

Is this a new reality in surprising Russia?

“There was very little media that managed to maintain its independence anyway, the pressure from the Kremlin was so severe.Christophe Deloire explains. There is only a small margin left in some media, such as Docht television, which is broadcast on the Internet because satellite is banned.”

Currently, Russia ranks 150th out of 180 countries in the world press freedom ranking published online by RSF. The next ranking will be published on 3 May. Christophe Deloire believes that “Russia will continue to drift under the influence of one of the worst, Vladimir Putin, who has torn the freedom of the press,” he said.

The country with a population of 144 million is also preparing to break away from the rest of the world. government in 2019 tested a system to completely turn off the internet and having a strictly bounded equivalent. This test derives from another law. “Law for a safe and sustainable internet”. has already provided repressive measures in case of “spreading fake news” or “disrespect to authorities”.