Russia: journalist sentenced to six years in prison over Telegram post

  • 17 Feb 2023

NUJ calls for release of Maria Ponomarenko, charged with spreading "fake news" in post about a Russian attack on a theatre in Ukraine.

The National Union of Journalists joins the International and European Federations of Journalists in calling for the immediate release of news correspondent Maria Ponomarenko.

The journalist at RusNews channel on YouTube has been found guilty of spreading alleged “fake news” about Moscow’s army and jailed for posting on Telegram about a Russian warplanes attack on a theatre in Ukraine. Ponomarenko has also been informed by the Leninsky District Court in Siberia she has  “no right to engage in activities related to the administration of websites, public channels of electronic and information and telecommunication networks, including the Internet for a period of five years.”

The Telegram post to an anonymous channel in March 2022 related to an attack described by Amnesty International as a war crime conducted by Russian forces. 1,200 civilians inside the theatre were seeking shelter at the time of bombing.

138 defendants have been prosecuted in Russia, charged with alleged fake reports about the Russian army.

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