The IPI global network condemns the Russian government’s travel ban on 29 members of the British press, including reporters from The Guardian, Independent, and the BBC. 

The journalists were included on a wider list of 49 UK citizens that Russian authorities have banned from entering the country. Russian authorities have framed the move as a response to Western sanctions and the spread of “false and one-sided information about Russia and events in Ukraine and Donbas”, according to a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In addition to journalists, the ban includes 20 military officials and other figures who Russia said were tied to the British defense industry, including the commander of the Royal Navy and three members of Parliament.

“The Russian government’s ban on these foreign reporters is an outrageous restriction of press freedom and of access to information”, IPI Director of Advocacy Amy Brouillette said. “The international community has an obligation to respond to Russia’s continuous limitations on press freedom and its efforts to limit access to information about domestic news as well as about the war in Ukraine.”

In a statement to the press, a Guardian News & Media spokesperson said: “This is a disappointing move by the Russian Government and a bad day for press freedom. Trusted, accurate journalism is more important now than ever, and despite the decision we will continue to report robustly on Russia and on its invasion of Ukraine.”

The BBC also said the outlet plans to “continue to report independently and fairly” on Russia.

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine on February 24, IPI has documented more than 260 press freedom violations in Russia, including arrests and detentions of domestic journalists, cases of censorship, and restrictions on internet access. In March 2022, in response to a law criminalizing “false information” on the armed forces, several global outlets, including the BBC and CNN, were forced to suspend their work in Russia. The publications continued their work outside of the country. The few remaining domestic independent outlets continue to be systematically harassed and repressed by the authorities.