MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday tightened media coverage of Russia’s election ahead of a March 2024 presidential election that is expected to extend his rule until 2030. Moscow has cracked down heavily on media freedom since launching an offensive against Ukraine in February last year.
Putin – in power since 2000 – has yet to announce that he will run for a fifth term, but the Kremlin says his power is unsurpassed. According to the government decree, journalists who are not employed by the competent media will not be allowed to participate in the meetings of the electoral commission. Only journalists who have the right to work “in accordance with federal law” will be able to take photos and record videos at polling stations, the decree says.
The measures prevent both bloggers and journalists working for independent media in exile from accessing polling stations. The vast majority of Russia’s independent media left the country last year, as authorities launched a sweeping crackdown on dissent and passed strict censorship laws over the conflict in Ukraine.
However, some exiled media outlets still have journalists working in Russia, and regional outlets have also been able to continue some independent reporting.
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