Spotify Leaves Russia In Response To New Authoritarian Media Laws

Spotify Leaves Russia In Response To New Authoritarian Media Laws

Spotify has announced it will suspend all of its services in Russia following the country’s introduction of strict, new media laws.

The announcement follows the streaming giant’s decision earlier this month to close its Russian offices indefinitely in response The Kremlin’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.

However, Spotify initially chose to continue operating in the warring nation to ensure a “global flow of information” for its Russian listeners.

“Spotify has continued to believe that it’s critically important to try to keep our service operational in Russia to provide trusted, independent news and information in the region,” the company said in a recent statement.

“Unfortunately, recently enacted legislation further restricting access to information, eliminating free expression, and criminalising certain types of news puts the safety of Spotify’s employees and possibly even our listeners at risk.

“After carefully considering our options and the current circumstances, we have come to the difficult decision to fully suspend our service in Russia.”

Earlier this month, the Russian parliament passed legislation banning the spread of international “fake” news which discredited or criticised the Russian military, with the threat of up to 15 years in prison.

“If the fakes lead to serious consequences then imprisonment of up to 15 years threatens,” Russia’s lower house of parliament, also known as the Duma, said in a statement.

“Literally by tomorrow, this law will force punishment – and very tough punishment – on those who lied and made statements which discredited our armed forces,” added Duma chairman, Vyacheslav Volodin.

Spotify now joins a raft of Western streaming services and platforms who’ve also abandoned Russia following the nation’s unprovoked attack on neighbouring Ukraine.

Earlier this month, Netflix suspended its services in response to the invasion.

The company also refused to host 20 free-to-air channels – including state-run propaganda channels – on its platform, which it was required to do under Russia’s Vitrina TV law.




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