The same law also sets out penalties for “discrediting” and “calling to obstruct” the use of the Russian armed forces. The maximum penalty is five years in prison.
Deny the invasion
“While the Government claims that the purpose of the new law is to defend the ‘truth’ about what it rhetorically calls ‘special military operations’ in Ukraine, in fact, the law places Russia in total disinformation about the war and so doing so gives the official seal of approval to disinformation and misinformation.“Independent experts appointed by Dong Nhan Quyen Associationin a press release released by the UN human rights office, OHCHR.
The law is another drastic step in a long string of measures over many years, restricting freedom of speech and media freedom, and further narrowing the civic space in the Russian Federation, they said. .
The act had a chilling effect, forcing some media outlets to self-censor their coverage of the war in Ukraine.
In less than a week, several national media outlets have closed or suspended their operations, due to growing restrictions on coverage.
International media response
Fearing for the safety of their employees, several international media outlets also announced their intention when the law was introduced to suspend reporting from Moscow.
Last week, according to a press release, Russian authorities blocked or restricted access to various news websites including the BBC, Deutsche Welle and RFE, as well as Facebook and Twitter, by domestic users.
“Via restrict reporting and block access to online information The authorities not only stifle the last vestiges of independent, pluralistic media in Russia, but they also deprive citizens of access to diverse news. and views at this critical time when millions of legitimate Russians want to know more about the situation in Ukraine,” said independent experts.
These restrictions on media and online access to information come amid the crackdown on thousands of anti-war and human rights protesters, the press release notes.
“The widespread accusations of indiscriminate use of force and mass arrests of protesters by the authorities are extremely alarming.. Experts added that the main responsibility of authorities when controlling assemblies is to protect peaceful protesters and facilitate the exercise of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.
Experts also expressed serious concern about the Russian military’s targeting of media personnel and media facilities in Ukraine, which has jeopardized the safety of journalists, leading to Various attacks aimed at the media staff and damaged the broadcasting infrastructure.
They call on the independent international commission of inquiry, recently established by the United Nations Human Rights Council, to fully investigate and ensure accountability for violations and abuses of the right to information and to ensure accountability. freedom of speech, as well as all attacks and threats to the safety of journalists in Ukraine.
The special rapporteurs and independent experts appointed by the UN are based in Geneva Dong Nhan Quyen Association arrive check and report back about a particular human rights topic or a country situation. The positions are honorary and professionals are not paid for their work.