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Russian parliament passes bill allowing Moscow to close Western news bureaus

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is viewed on the watch of a Television set camera as he delivers a speech all through a session of the decrease dwelling of parliament to think about constitutional alterations in Moscow, Russia March 10, 2020. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

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LONDON, May perhaps 24 (Reuters) – Russia’s parliament on Tuesday handed a bill supplying prosecutors powers to shut foreign media bureaus in Moscow if a Western state has been “unfriendly” to Russian media, pursuing the closure of some Russian condition news retailers in the West.

The invoice, handed in the first looking at by the lessen household of parliament, or Duma, also prohibits the distribution of posts or other elements from media that have been shut by the prosecutor’s business office. It requires to endure two additional readings, be reviewed by the higher house of parliament, and signed by President Vladimir Putin to turn into regulation.

The journalists of a media organisation considered to be an offender underneath the bill would have their international ministry accreditation withdrawn – indicating they could not get the job done in Russia.

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The new bill adds to the challenges dealing with foreign media following Russia in March adopted a law which penalized what it termed spreading “pretend” information about its army.

“In the present-day geopolitical condition, the mass media has develop into an instrument of influence on the informational condition of culture,” the lawmakers explained in an official explanatory notice on the invoice.

The take note, which Reuters has viewed, also mentioned: “In accordance with the bill, a journalist and a foreign correspondent may possibly reduce their accreditation if the truth of unfriendly action is set up as a result of the imposition of limitations on the distribution of Russian mass media functioning in a overseas nation.”

The bill was introduced by influential lawmakers, like Andrei Lugovoy, who was billed in absentia by British prosecutors for the 2006 poisoning murder of Alexander Litvinenko. Lugovoy, a former KGB bodyguard, has continuously denied the charges.

Russia’s overseas minister, Sergei Lavrov, has regularly scolded the West for avoiding professional-Kremlin media such as the Sputnik news agency and RT television channel from functioning by withdrawing their broadcasting licenses and sanctioning the shops, techniques he suggests exhibit a disregard for media independence.

In March, President Vladimir Putin signed a regulation imposing a jail time period of up to 15 a long time for spreading intentionally “fake” news about the armed forces, prompting some Western media to pull their journalists out of Russia. Other Western organisations, like Reuters, have stayed in the state and proceed to report.

Russian officials do not use the word “invasion” and say Western media have provided an excessively partial narrative of what they phone Russia’s “specific procedure” in Ukraine that ignores Russia’s concerns about the enlargement of NATO and alleged persecution of Russian-speakers.

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