Spotify suspends service in Russia

New Delhi: Swedish music streaming giant Spotify is suspending its services in Russia after Moscow passed a new law earlier this month to crack down on free press and speech.

Spotify said it had no choice but to leave the Russian market, citing the law that essentially outlaws independent journalism.

“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 Spotify spokesperson told TechCrunch.

“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.”

In early March, the Russian Parliament enacted the law that criminalizes sharing what the government deems to be “false information” about Moscow’s ongoing war in Ukraine.

In response, numerous news organisations, including The New York Times and CNN, pulled their journalists out from Russia or suspended broadcasts in the country.

Tech platforms including YouTube, Meta (Facebook and Instagram), and Twitter have all blocked RT and Sputnik accounts, with Apple and Google following suit in their respective app stores.

Meta has expanded a ban on Russian state media outlets RT and Sputnik on Facebook and Instagram globally to stop the flow of misinformation as Russian forces make deeper inroads into Ukraine.

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