Headline RoundupMarch 4th, 2022

Russia Cracks Down on Free Speech, Facebook and Foreign Media

Summary from the AllSides News Team

Russia blocked access to Facebook, Twitter and several foreign news sites on Friday. Russia's Parliament also passed new restrictions on contradicting Moscow's war narrative. 

The new restrictions ban spreading “false information” about the Russian military and “discrediting” Russia’s use of military force in Ukraine, with penalties including up to 15 years in prison. Those restrictions appeared to “criminalize the process of independent journalism,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie said in a statement. BBC News (Center) was among several foreign news sites blocked in Russia; others included Voice of America (Center), Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Not Rated) and German outlet Deutche Welle (Center). Regarding the Facebook ban, Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor cited 26 purported examples of “discrimination” against Russian media outlets. In response, Meta global affairs president Nick Clegg warned that “millions of ordinary Russians” would be “silenced from speaking out.”

Coverage was widespread and prominently featured across the spectrum on Friday. Coverage on both sides was often openly critical of Russia’s actions. The story prompted several examples of sensationalism, including a headline calling the Russian law “draconian” in MarketWatch (Center) and a “PUTIN'S PURGE” homepage tagline in Fox News (Right).

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