WaPo removes bylines to protect reporters amid Russia’s new media law
The Washington Post announced that the newspaper would be removing bylines and datelines from certain coverage to protect their staff after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law that targets independent reporting.
“We are continuing to seek clarity about whether Russia’s new restrictions will apply to international news organizations. For now, to help protect our Moscow-based journalists, we will exercise caution by removing bylines and datelines from certain stories,” the newspaper said in a statement. “We want to be sure that our Moscow-based correspondents are not held responsible for material that is produced from beyond Russia.”
Putin signed legislation would sentence people with up to 15 years in prison if they are found to be spreading “fake news” about Russian forces. Following the legislation, BBC, CNN and Bloomberg announced they would be halting or moving operations in Moscow.
“This legislation appears to criminalise the process of independent journalism. It leaves us no other choice than to temporarily suspend the work of all BBC News journalists and their support staff within the Russian Federation while we assess the full implications of this unwelcome development,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie said in a statement.
Davie said, as a result, their service in Russia would have operations conducted outside of the country.
“We have with great regret decided to temporarily suspend our news gathering inside Russia,” Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait said. “The change to the criminal code, which seems designed to turn any independent reporter into a criminal purely by association, makes it impossible to continue any semblance of normal journalism inside the country.”
Russian independent media has also suffered amid the invasion, suspending their coverage.
“We need strength to exhale and understand how to work further. We really hope that we will return to the air and continue to work,” TV Rain’s general director, Natalya Sindeeva, said while on air.