The World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) and the World Editors Forum (WEF) have denounced Russia’s recently updated criminal laws, which introduce fines, criminal liabilities and prison terms of up to 15 years for anyone sharing information deemed “false” by the state about the deployment of its armed forces.
In many cases, the move has forced global news organisations and independent journalism outlets to temporarily cease their Russian operations in order to protect staff from prosecution rather than self-censor news output. Russia’s few remaining independent TV, radio and print publications have either shuttered operations or taken the deliberate decision to avoid reporting the Ukraine conflict. For all media, reporting factually on the unfolding situation is becoming increasingly perilous.
Separately, Russian authorities have also limited access to social media platforms Twitter and Facebook, while TikTok has stopped uploading content from Russia.
The combined effect denies ordinary Russians, as well as citizens worldwide, of independent information about events within the country, specifically the fallout from the ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
“We deplore attempts to criminalise journalism and suppress fact-based reporting as is happening in Russia right now,” said a statement from WAN-IFRA and WEF.
“Information is a key part of the battle underway, and citizens should be able to make informed decisions about their basic survival without any form of censorship – direct or indirect. People need facts, critical reporting and information to navigate life and death situations and detect sophisticated, pernicious state-sponsored propaganda.”
The organisations urged all those outraged by Russia’s criminalisation of the free press to step up their support for independent news organisations in Ukraine, Russia, and their home countries. Specifically, readers are encouraged to:
- Share trusted content only.
- Subscribe to independent media platforms and contribute financially wherever you can.
- Call out deliberate attempts to distort facts or misinform the news agenda.
WAN-IFRA and WEF continue to monitor the escalating situation in Ukraine in coordination with local and international partners engaged on the ground to support journalists and independent media. Alongside its local member associations – the Association of Independent Regional Press Publishers of Ukraine (AIRPPU) and the Ukrainian Association of Media Business (UAPP – UAMB) – WAN-IFRA and WEF are coordinating the allocation of financial support to keep independent journalism alive in Ukraine via generous contributions from WAN-IFRA members.
For more information contact:
Executive Director, Press Freedom
Executive Director, World Editors Forum
To read the latest news from members as well as WAN-IFRA’s recent statements on the situation in Ukraine, visit:
- The global journalism community in solidarity with the women journalists in Ukraine
- Journalism under siege
- Schibsted to donate one million Norwegian kroner to support independent Ukrainian news media
- German BDZV supports action alliance disaster relief in support of Ukraine
- Nordic news publishers support independent journalism in war-torn Ukraine
- World’s press demands Russia and Ukraine protect journalists covering conflict
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The World Association of News Publishers (WAN-IFRA) is the global organisation of the world’s press. Our mission is to protect the rights of journalists and publishers around the world to operate independent media. We provide our members with expertise and services to innovate and prosper in a digital world and perform their crucial role in society. www.wan-ifra.org
About the World Editors Forum
The World Editors Forum is the leading global community of editors and is an integral part of WAN-IFRA. We stand up for a free press, quality journalism and newsroom transformation, and have been doing so for over 25 years. www.wan-ifra.org/world-editors-forum