Spotify Technology has said it will suspend its streaming service in Russia, citing the country’s new media law.

Under the law, anyone who writes news deemed false about the Russian military can be jailed for up to 15 years.

Spotify earlier this month had announced it was “deeply shocked and saddened by the unprovoked attack on Ukraine,” and for the safety of its staff, it closed its office in Russia indefinitely.

Russia exit

Spotify also “restricted the discoverability of shows owned and operated by Russian state-affiliated media.”

This included the additional step of “removing all RT and Sputnik content from Spotify in the EU and other markets.”

Then on Friday Spotify updated its statement, and announced that because of Russia’s new law that punishes spreading fake news about the military with up to 15 years in prison, it has taken the decision to “fully suspend our service in Russia.”

“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,” said the streaming firm.

“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,” it said.

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

Spotify expects its service to be fully suspended by early April.

The streaming giant also said in March that its paid subscription service would no longer be available in Russia.

Russia withdrawal

Many tech companies have similarly shut down their operations and services in Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

However, Russia has taken its own actions, including banning Meta’s Facebook and Instagram.

This has resulted in increased demand for VPNs in Russia, as citizens seek ways to bypass the Kremlin’s tech restrictions.

Meanwhile streaming service, Netflix, suspended service in Russia earlier this month.

It said it did this as it would not add state-run channels to its Russian service, despite a regulation that would require it to do so.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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