TikTok, Netflix Join Major News Networks In Russian Withdrawal

TikTok and Netflix have joined CNN International, CBS, ABC, Bloomberg, the British Broadcasting Company (BBC) and the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) in withdrawing from Russia.

TikTok and Netflix announced their decisions to suspend their services in Russia on March 6.

TikTok tweeted that the safety of its employees and users is its highest priority.

Netflix, which has about 1 million Russian subscribers, has been streaming through a join venture with Russia’s National Media Group. Netflix had earlier last week announced suspension of all original content projects with Russia, joining Walt Disney Co., Sony, WarnerMedia and Paramount, which suspended release of theatrical films in Russia. DirecTV and Roku also suspended service in Russia last week.

Netflix refused to air 20 Russian free-to-air propaganda channels, as now required by Russian law, and announced that is making a 2015 documentary “Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom,” available free on its platform.

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Major news outlets ceased broadcasting in Russia after the Russian parliament passed a new law (expected to be quickly signed by Vladimir Putin) that allows for 15-year prison sentences for anyone accused of spreading whatever Russia decides is “fake” information in the country. The stipulations include prohibiting the use of the words “war” or “invasion” in relation to Russian’s invasion of Ukraine, for example.

“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,' Bloomberg Editor-in-Chief John Micklethwait said in a statement.

The news divisions of CNN International, ABC, CBS, the BBC and CBC also cited the law and their reporters’ safety for suspending operations in the country. BBC News said it will continue its service in Russian from outside Russia.

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