Staff walk off set after final broadcast of one of Russia's last ...

Russia's last independent news outlets staged a mass walkout following threats from authorities.

Dozhd's (TV Rain) broadcast came to a halt on Thursday when Russian communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, accused the channel of "inciting extremism, abusing Russian citizens, causing mass disruption of public calm and safety, and encouraging protests".

They ordered the outlet to remove reports describing Russia's attack on Ukraine as an "assault, invasion, or declaration of war", or subsequently, face being blocked or fined. The pressures led all staff to resign live on-air.

Natalia Sindeyeva, one of the channel's founders, declared "no to war" before signing off their last broadcast. She later turned to social media and said: "We need strength to exhale and understand how to work further. We really hope that we will return to the air and continue our work".

The channel then played Tchaikovsky's classic Swan Lake on repeat. The ballet was aired on loop following the death of Leonid Brezhnev while a new party leader was being selected. It was later screened in August 1991 on Soviet state TV during an attempt to overthrow President Mikhail Gorbachev.

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On Friday, the Russian parliament passed a new law that threatened those who intentionally spread "fake" information about the armed forces with 15-year imprisonment. Just two hours later, news website Znak announced they were closing.

All that's remaining on the homepage is a notice that reads: "We, the editors of the online publication Znak.com, announce the closure. We are suspending our work due to a large number of restrictions that have recently appeared for the work of the media in Russia."


Znak

Roskomnadzor have also restricted access to the Russian-language websites of the BBC.

The BBC pledges they will continue efforts to ensure international news is available on the dark web through the Tor network.

A spokesperson said: "Access to accurate, independent information is a fundamental human right which should not be denied to the people of Russia, millions of whom rely on BBC News every week.

"We will continue our efforts to make BBC News available in Russia, and across the rest of the world."

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