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New York Times Pulls Russia News Team Over New Law

FILE - The New York Times building is seen in Manhattan, Aug. 3, 2020.

The New York Times has announced its editorial staff is pulling out of Russia over Moscow's punitive new media law, following other outlets that have withdrawn over safety concerns.

Russian authorities have blocked several independent media outlets, and last week it moved to impose harsh jail terms for "false news" about the army as part of its efforts to muffle dissent.

"Russia's new legislation seeks to criminalize independent, accurate news reporting about the war against Ukraine," the Times organization said in a statement Tuesday.

"For the safety and security of our editorial staff working in the region, we are moving them out of the country for now," it added.

The new law, signed by President Vladimir Putin on Friday, creates prison sentences of up to 15 years for spreading information aimed at "discrediting" military forces and also punishes any call to sanction Moscow.

Other Western media outlets have suspended the activities of their correspondents in Russia for fear of reprisals, including Canada's CBC/Radio Canada, the German ARD and ZDF, and the Spanish RTVE, as well as the American agency Bloomberg News and the Spanish EFE.

The BBC said it would resume English-language broadcasting from Russia on Tuesday, after suspending its reporting as it examined the new media laws.

The Times said it was focused on "returning as soon as possible while we monitor the application of the new law."