New York Times moves staff out of Russia, while BBC returns

‘Russia’s new legislation seeks to criminalise independent, accurate news reporting about the war against Ukraine.’
Image: Shutterstock

The New York Times is moving staffers out of Russia, while the BBC said it will resume reporting from the country, underscoring the dilemma news outlets are confronting following enactment of a new law that clamps down on independent journalism there.

“Russia’s new legislation seeks to criminalise independent, accurate news reporting about the war against Ukraine,” the Times said Tuesday in an emailed statement.

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

The measure threatens prison terms of up to 15 years for people charged with spreading “fake news” about the military or calling for sanctions against the country. It’s the latest step in a major crackdown on independent media in Russia.

On Tuesday, the BBC changed course, saying it will resume English language reporting from Russia.

“We have considered the implications of the new legislation alongside the urgent need to report from inside Russia,” the BBC said. “We will tell this crucial part of the story independently and impartially, adhering to the BBC’s strict editorial standards. The safety of our staff in Russia remains our No. 1 priority.”

On March 4, the BBC and Bloomberg News said they were temporarily suspending the work of their journalists in Russia, while CNN, CBS News and ABC News said they would stop broadcasting in the country as they evaluate the situation.

© 2022 Bloomberg

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