A journalist in Russia has been arrested for publishing content criticizing the invasion of Ukraine. The journalist was arrested under the new “fake news” law that carries a sentence of up to 15 years.
The editor-in-chief of Novy Fokus, Mikhail Afanasyev, in the Khakassia region, was arrested last week after his website reported that 11 riot police refused Ukraine deployment. He is being charged with spreading “deliberately false information” about the Russian military.
In March, Russia passed a new “fake news” law that carries a sentence of up to 15 years for spreading “false” information about the military.
The arrest underscores Russia’s crackdown of independent reporting about the invasion of Ukraine. Since the war started, multiple independent news outlets have been shut down, and others have chosen to close down to avoid penalties.
Last week, the founder of news outlet LIStok, based in Altay, Sergei Mikhailov, was also arrested over the outlet’s coverage of the invasion of Ukraine. Russian media reported that he was placed in pre-trial detention after the outlet encouraged sanctions against Russia. LIStok’s website was blocked in March for criticizing the invasion.
It was not the first time Afanasyev found himself in trouble with Russian authorities. In 2009, he was accused of libel for publishing a series of stories criticizing the government’s response to an explosion at Russia’s largest hydroelectric plant.