Russian President Vladimir Putin outlaws the spread of ‘fake’ reports

FILE - Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, listens to Lebedinsky GOK Managing Director Oleg Mikhailov, left, as businessman and founder of USM Holdings, Alisher Usmanov, right, and Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov stand behind him while visiting the Lebedinsky GOK JSC, in Gubkin, Belgorod Region, Russia, Friday, July 14, 2017. Usmanov is not on the sanctions list implemented in response to the 2022 invasion of Ukraine. The metals tycoon was an early investor in Facebook. His fortune is estimated at more than $14 billion. (Mikhail Klimentyev/Sputnik/Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, File) (Mikhail Klimentyev)

Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill introducing a prison sentence of up to 15 years for spreading information that goes against the Russian government’s position on the war in Ukraine.

The bill criminalizing the intentional spreading of what Russia deems to be “fake” reports about the war was quickly rubber-stamped by both houses of the Kremlin-controlled parliament earlier Friday.

Russian authorities have repeatedly decried reports of Russian military setbacks or civilian deaths in Ukraine as “fake” reports. State media outlets refer to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as a “special military operation” rather than a “war” or “invasion.”

The law envisages sentences of up to three years or fines for spreading what authorities deem to be false news about the military, but the maximum punishment rises to 15 years for cases deemed to have led to “severe consequences.”

Also Friday, the state communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, blocked Facebook and five foreign media organizations based abroad which publish news in Russian in a sweeping action to establish tight control over information about the Russian invasion of Ukraine.


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