WASHINGTON, March 5 — Bloomberg News announced yesterday it was suspending the work of its journalists in Russia and CNN said it will stop broadcasting in the country.

The moves by Bloomberg and CNN come after Russian lawmakers passed legislation that criminalises independent reporting.

“We have with great regret decided to temporarily suspend our news gathering inside Russia,” Bloomberg quoted the news agency’s editor-in-chief John Micklethwait as saying.

“The change to the criminal code, which seems designed to turn any independent reporter into a criminal purely by association, makes it impossible to continue any semblance of normal journalism inside the country,” Micklethwait said.

CNN said the 24-hour US cable television news network “will stop broadcasting in Russia while we continue to evaluate the situation and our next steps moving forward.”

The moves came Russian lawmakers threatened to impose jail terms for publishing “fake news” about the Russian army, part of an effort to stifle dissent over Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

The BBC announced yesterday it was halting its journalists’ work in Russia and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) said it was temporarily halting reporting from Russia.

“This legislation appears to criminalise the process of independent journalism,” BBC Director-General Tim Davie said in a statement.

He warned that journalists could face “the risk of criminal prosecution simply for doing their jobs.” — AFP