EUvsDisinfo, a disinformation watchdog run by the EU foreign service, reported last week that several high-profile Russian journalists have quit their jobs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February. According to the EUvsDisinfo report:
March 17, 2022 A journalist of Russia’s largest TV channel performed an anti-war protest during a live broadcast. Several journalists have publicly declared they are not taking part in the Kremlin’s disinformation machine and left their jobs. But will the current exodus of journalists affect the broadcasting of the Kremlin outlets? Last week’s public display of defiance during the Nine O’Clock News of the Channel One Russia (Pervyi Kanal) is just one example of journalists on Kremlin outlets who eventually decide to cease lying. Marina Ovsyannikova went on live TV with a public protest against the war. She was detained, fined and, of course, fired. Zhanna Agalakova, Channel One Russia’s correspondent in Paris and earlier in New York, has declared that she is quitting. On a question from the independent agency Meduza(opens in a new tab), she replied: “I think the reason is obvious”. Several other high-profile journalists of Kremlin-controlled media are also leaving: Liliya Gildeeva, anchor on the nation-wide broadcaster NTV, travelled abroad before handing in her notice. Ivan Urgant of Channel One Russia protested against the war already in late February and left the channel. Maria Baronova, an RT host, also left the channel almost immediately after the war began. Baronova was quoted as saying(opens in a new tab): “A week ago, I was writing about NATO propaganda, Russophobia… They were right and I was wrong.”
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Independent Russian media reported earlier this month that at least 150 journalists are believed to have fled Russia since the invasion in February. According to a report by Agents Media:
March 7, 2022 Over the past few days, journalists have been leaving Russia en masse — criminal punishment for the so-called fake news about the war and mass media blocking have done their job. We interviewed employees from 17 editorial offices and calculated that: In total, at least 150 journalists have left Russia in recent days. In many media outlets, a significant part of the journalists left — for example, almost the entire Moscow editorial office of Meduza — about 20 people. The journalists of Dozhd, Ekho Moskvy and Novaya Gazeta also left. Some of our colleagues announced their departure publicly, for example, the editor-in-chief of Dozhd Tikhon Dzyadko, the presenter of the same channel Mikhail Fishman, the editor-in-chief of the publication Republic Dmitry Kolezev, film critic Anton Dolin. [Translated with Google Translate]
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In March, Russia’s parliament passed a law making public actions aimed at “discrediting” Russia’s army illegal. The law also bans the “public dissemination of deliberately false information about the use of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation,” whereby deviations from the Kremlin’s official statements are already classified as “false information.” For now, the Kremlin’s media campaign appears to have rallied public opinion behind Russian President Putin among the Russian population.
Although the EU and the US have banned several Russian state-backed media outlets over their disinformation on Ukraine, Russian propaganda still reaches global audiences through a variety of channels.