The Latest Reporting on Ukraine and Russia

From CNN’s Reliable Sources:

The latest from Kyiv

Here is the latest from CNN’s Ivana Kottasová in Kyiv: “Just two weeks ago, residents of the Ukrainian capital were tending to their shops, teaching schoolchildren or parked at their office desks. The Russian invasion changed all that. Fighting literally for their lives, civilians, turned into volunteer soldiers, helped construct defenses with military precision — and they are now manning them.” She conveys how the capital has been transformed “into a fortress,” with residents “determined to defend it.”

The Russia reporting challenge

This subject is quite sensitive, and some news outlets don’t want to say anything about it on the record for obvious reasons. But Russia’s new censorship law clamping down on the press is forcing some difficult conversations and decisions. There were several updates on Tuesday, which we’ll outline below.

Sky News international affairs editor Dominic Waghorn wrote Tuesday about exiting Russia after a two-week visit “that only got darker and more ominous.” It’s a place “where you can’t call an invasion by 10s of 1000s of Russian troops an invasion,” he said, a place where “independent Russian journalists have mostly left because the state has criminalized journalism.” He said most Russians “see an Orwellian distortion of the apocalypse being visited on their cousins on their TV’s that pretends it’s a limited operation weeding out Nazis.” Waghorn’s description conveyed why we need reporting from Russia but also why it’s so difficult right now…

The NYT exits Russia 

Oliver Darcy writes: “The New York Times said Tuesday that, in light of Russia’s anti-journalism law, it has pulled its staff from the country. ‘For the safety and security of our editorial staff working in the region, we are moving them out of the country for now,’ the NYT said. ‘We look forward to them returning as soon as possible while we monitor the application of the new law.’ The Times added that the paper will continue its ‘rigorous reporting on Russia’s offensive in Ukraine and these attempts to stifle independent journalism.’ Former NYT Moscow bureau chief Cliff Levy noted that‘even in the depths of the Cold War, under the Soviet dictatorship, this never happened…'”

BBC resumes broadcasting

The BBC announced a different approach on Tuesday. The global news outlet, which had suspended operations in Russia while it evaluated the new law last Friday, resumed TV live shots and other work in the country. “We have considered the implications of the new legislation alongside the urgent need to report from inside Russia,” the BBC said in a statement. The network reassured viewers that its standards would not waiver: “We will tell this crucial part of the story independently and impartially, adhering to the BBC’s strict editorial standards. The safety of our staff in Russia remains our number one priority.”

CNN: “We are not shutting down our Moscow bureau” 

The big picture

Major news outlets are taking common-sense precautions right now. The AP’s “live updates” on the war on Tuesday contained no Moscow datelines, for example, though news from Russia was still reported. The Washington Post’s story about Russia being in a hard-currency pinch was written by a reporter in DC instead of Moscow.

The anti-journalism law is imperiling local journalists the most. Almost every day, this newsletter includes new examples of independent Russian reporters fleeing the country. France24, citing Reporters Without Borders, says some are “escaping” to Turkey for the time being. “I think now the future is pretty dark,” TV Rain EIC Tikhon Dzyadko told the WSJ for this new podcast episode. “Normal, independent journalism is almost dead” in Russia. “But I’m still hoping that one day it will survive.”

Other headlines and stories

— Two very blunt headlines about the situation: “Vladimir Putin has brutally muzzled Russian media” and “The Putin regime obliterates press freedom…” (Economist, CJR)

— “To watch news broadcasts of the fighting in Ukraine on the main state channels in Russia is to witness the extent of the Kremlin’s efforts to sanitize its war,” Neil MacFarquhar writes… (NYT)

— New from Craig Silverman and Jeff Kao: “In the Ukraine conflict, fake fact-checksare being used to spread disinformation…” (ProPublica)

— “USA Today helped 17 Afghans evacuate to Kyiv in the days after Kabul fell, those connected to journalism and their families,” EIC Nicole Carroll writes. “Now, six months later, all 17 had to flee again…” (USA Today)

 — This was a heartbreaking live-TV moment: A crying former Ukrainian lawmaker pleaded for a no-fly zone during an interview with MSNBC’s Katy Tur… (Mediaite)

— Ukrainian media company 1+1 says that it has made its TV news channel available to the world in three different languages (Ukrainian, English and Russian) which people can stream for free on YouTube… (YouTube)

Here’s an update on the grassroots effort using “shortwave radio to broadcast VOA in Ukraine, Russia…” (The Hill)

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