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Spotify to fully halt service in Russia by April over media censorship law

Goodbye, Spotify. Hello, Sputnik?

Music streaming giant Spotify (SPOT) is the latest to join a growing list of media platforms halting operations in Russia following a law passed by the Kremlin earlier this month that threatens to jail any person or entity spreading “fake” news for up to 15 years.

Spotify confirmed to Yahoo Finance that the music streaming giant made the “difficult” decision Friday to suspend its service in the country. The company said it will have to take several operational steps to facilitate the exit but expects to have fully suspended its service by early April.

“Spotify has continued to believe that it’s critically important to try and keep our service operational in Russia to provide trusted, independent news and information in the region,” a company spokesperson said. “Unfortunately, recently enacted legislation further restricting access to information, eliminating free expression, and criminalizing certain types of news puts the safety of Spotify’s employees and possibly even our listeners at risk.”

Spotify logo displayed on a phone screen and headphones are seen in this illustration photo taken in Krakow, Poland on February 3, 2022. (Photo Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Spotify is the latest to join a growing list of media platforms halting operations in Russia. (Photo Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images) (NurPhoto via Getty Images)

News organizations including CNN, the BBC, and Canadian Broadcasting Corp. have also stopped broadcasting in Russia after the law was introduced.

Kremlin officials have accused the United States and its Western European allies of spreading false information in an attempt to create dissention among the Russian public.

"Russia’s recent adoption of a punitive ‘fake war news’ law is an alarming move by the government to gag and blindfold an entire population,” United Nations human rights experts said in a statement on March 11.

“While the government claims that the purpose of the new legislation is to protect the ‘truth’ about what it euphemistically calls a ‘special military operation’ in Ukraine, in reality the law places Russia under a total information blackout on the war and in so doing gives an official seal of approval to disinformation and misinformation,” experts appointed by the Human Rights Council said.

Alexandra Semenova is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alexandraandnyc

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