New York Times pulling staffers out of Russia, citing ‘safety’ concerns

Dmitri Lovetsky / Associated Press

The New York Times will pull its journalists out of Russia, saying it is making the move in the interest of staffers’ safety. 

“For the safety and security of our editorial staff working in the region, we are moving them out of the country for now,” a spokesperson for the Times said in a statement on Tuesday. “We look forward to them returning as soon as possible while we monitor the application of the new law.” 

The law referred to by the Times was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin last week and targets independent reporting on Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. 

The newly passed law could carry a sentence of up to 15 years in prison for offenders who are found to be spreading “fake news” about Russian forces.

Putin and the Kremlin have been cracking down on independent news organizations reporting on the war and instructing state-controlled media to broadcast propaganda suggesting Ukraine and the West are to blame for the violence that has ensued since Russia invaded its neighboring country over a week ago.

The Washington Post last week took the step of removing bylines and datelines from certain coverage in response to the law, and a number of other outlets have already suspended their operations in Russia due to safety concerns. 

“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 after the new Russian law passed. 

Over the weekend, photojournalist Lynsey Addario captured a harrowing photo showing an entire Ukrainian family, including children, who had been killed in Russian bombing. The Times ran the photo above the fold on its front page on Monday. 

“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,” the Times statement on Tuesday concluded. 

Tags Fake News Mass media State media Vladimir Putin Vladimir Putin
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