Reports have just surfaced that Putin is cracking down on “Fake News”.
The Kremlin under Putin’s commands has just enacted a new law that will send anyone within Russia to 15 years in prison for reporting “fake news” about the Russia-Ukraine war.
Any news agency within Russia walls that calls Putin’s attack on Russia “a war” instead of a “military operation” is in danger of being imprisoned.
As of right now Russia’s regulatory agency Roskomnadzor has already partially blocked Facebook, and fully blocked Twitter and BBC for its citizens.
However, many Russians are just using VPNs to get around the new censorship ban.
— Mirror Now (@MirrorNow) March 5, 2022
More importantly, Putin just signed a law making it a crime to publish "fake news" about Russian military events in the war in Ukraine, or support Western sanctions against Russia…up to 15 years in prison. He just signed the law minutes ago.
— Louis Marinelli (@LouisJMarinelli) March 4, 2022
The Verge had more on the story:
Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed a law punishing “fake news” with up to 15 years in prison. The rule will impose fines or jail terms for spreading false information about the military, as well as fines for people who publicly call for sanctions against Russia. Courts would mete out the harshest sentences for fake news that leads to “serious consequences.”
According to earlier coverage from The Moscow Times, the bill is meant to penalize people who knowingly “distort the purpose, role and tasks of the Russian Armed Forces, as well as other units during special military and other operations,” including people who spread unapproved information about Russian war losses.
“Literally by tomorrow, this law will force punishment — and very tough punishment — on those who lied and made statements which discredited our armed forces,” said Vyacheslav Volodin, chairman of Russia’s State Duma legislative body, in a statement quoted by Reuters. Putin signed an earlier “fake news” law in 2019 that includes fines and jail time for disrespecting the Russian government, but the penalty was a far lighter 15 days.
⚡️Russian parliament proposes imprisonment for spreading “fake news” about the war.
Writing about Russia’s war against Ukraine can lead to up to 15 years in prison.
— The Kyiv Independent (@KyivIndependent) March 2, 2022
Reuters got the scoop too:
Russia’s parliament on Friday passed a law imposing a jail term of up to 15 years for spreading intentionally “fake” news about the military, stepping up the information war over the conflict in Ukraine.
Russian officials have repeatedly said that false information has been spread by Russia’s enemies such as the United States and its Western European allies in an attempt to sow discord among the Russian people.
Lawmakers passed amendments to the criminal code making the spread of “fake” information an offence punishable with fines or jail terms. They also imposed fines for public calls for sanctions against Russia.
“If the fakes lead to serious consequences then imprisonment of up to 15 years threatens,” the lower house of parliament, known as the Duma in Russian, said in a statement.