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New Russian law on Ukraine war reporting threatens journalists with lengthy prison sentences

Russia cracks down on independent media
Russia introduces jail time for spreading "fake" information as Kremlin cracks down on media 01:53

As the war in Ukraine grinds on, most Russians are unaware of what is really happening amid a new crackdown by President Vladimir Putin on the few remaining independent media outlets. On Friday morning, Russian lawmakers passed a law introducing jail terms for anyone who publishes so-called fake information about the country's armed forces.

The law carries a sentence of up to 15 years in prison for journalists or other people who spread military information that the Kremlin deems to be untrue.

At least two independent media outlets have been taken off the air this week after officials accused them of reporting false information, which means basically anything that is not being published by official Russian sources.

Journalists work at the office of Echo of Moscow radio in Moscow on March 3, 2022.
Journalists work at the office of Echo of Moscow radio in Moscow on March 3, 2022. AFP via Getty Images

The Kremlin will not allow the fighting in Ukraine to be referred to as an invasion or war, CBS News' Mary Ilyushina reports from Moscow.

Russian state media tightly controls the message it broadcasts to millions of Russians, repeating Putin's claim that this is a defensive operation to protect Russia against what he calls Ukrainian aggression.

State-run media has also never acknowledged the bombardment of Kyiv, Kharkiv or other cities outside of the Donbas area.

There are many Russians who see through this and are taking to the streets.

According to a Russian rights group, more than 8,000 protesters have been arrested across the country.

Russians can still access some independent sources of news by going online and using a virtual private network, or VPN. That's what Ilyushina and other journalists do, but people who don't know how to do that are being left without a comprehensive picture of what is going on in Ukraine.

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