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Russian law bans journalists from calling Ukraine conflict a 'war' or an 'invasion'

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Free speech and reporting may be another casualty of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and President Putin signed a law making the airing of what the government calls false information about the armed forces illegal. Journalists could be jailed for up to 15 years. Russian officials assert it's false to call their military operations in Ukraine a war or an invasion. Several Western news outlets say they've suspended reporting from Russia while they assess the law and the safety of their employees.

Tim Davie, director general of the BBC, said this legislation appears to criminalize the process of independent journalism. Many independent Russian voices have shut down, including the Echo of Moscow radio station, which had over a million daily listeners, TV Rain and the Znak news outlet. Novaya Gazeta, which has seen six of its journalists killed over the past two decades and whose editor, Dmitry Muratov, shared last year's Nobel Peace Prize, said it was deleting its war coverage from its website. And even The Village, a digital lifestyle site, says it is editing its old posts to change any mention of war to special operation. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.