BRUSSELS: Media censorship imposed by Russian authorities as well as the crackdown on peaceful, anti-war protests in view of the unprovoked and unjustified military invasion of Ukraine is escalating in Russia.
Yesterday, two more of Russia’s most prominent media outlets, Moscow’s Echo and TV Rain, were banned, as well as the websites of a number of other independent media organisations. Today, Moscow’s Echo was liquidated. These media outlets are being silenced for giving a platform to sources and voices that challenge the falsified picture of the situation on the ground in Ukraine as portrayed by the Russian government and the disinformation network under its control, including Russian state-controlled TV channels.
According to reports, more than 7600 anti-war protesters in more than 120 cities have been detained since the start of Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. The fact that a law is currently being drafted by the Russian State Duma, which will allow for the sentencing of those who express opinions that deviate from the official government line with up to 15 years in prison, is deeply concerning.
We applaud the courage of those Russian citizens who dare to publicly oppose the war Putin is waging on Ukraine, in spite of censorship and repression. We applaud Russian independent media and Russian NGOs that defend the values of democracy, rule of law and freedom, and strive to inform the Russian people of the situation on the ground in Ukraine.