BBC Temporarily Suspends Russia-Based News Operations

By A.J. Katz 

Unfortunate news coming out of the U.K. Friday: BBC says it has temporarily suspended news operations in Russia while it assesses the implications of new legislation adopted by the Russian government.

The Russian parliament voted unanimously Friday morning to pass a law which imprisons Russian journalists and individuals for up to 15 years if they publish what the government claims is “fake” information concerning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

BBC News will continue to offer news in Russian, but its journalists will be stationed outside of Russia.


“The safety of our staff is paramount and we are not prepared to expose them to the risk of criminal prosecution simply for doing their jobs,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie said in a statement. “I’d like to pay tribute to all of them, for their bravery, determination and professionalism.”

Below, the full statement:

The BBC isn’t the only news outlet to be censored by the Russian government. The government’s media regulator has restricted access to Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and, according to the U.S. State Department, the regulator has also restricted access to Russian independent outlets Radio Ekho Moskvy and Dozhd TV for “deliberately” sharing what it claims is false information about the invasion.

The Russian federation’s media regulator, known as RosKomNadzor, announced on Friday that it had blocked the websites of the BBC, U.S. government-funded Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, German broadcaster Deutsche Welle and other media outlets.

“Access has been restricted to a host of information resources owned by foreigners,” Roskomnadzor said in a statement. “The grounds for restricting access to these information resources on the territory of the Russian Federation was their deliberate and systematic circulation of materials containing false information.”

In response to its Russian language website being blocked by the regulator, BBC put out the following statement: