The staff of the Russian news channel leaves the set at the end of the program

A news channel in Russia ended its final broadcast on Thursday with staff leaving the set. The channel, known as Dozhd – or TV Rain – is halting its work after its website was blocked amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

“We need strength to … understand how we can work from here,” the channel’s founder and CEO Natalya Sindeeva said in a statement, according to Reuters. “We really hope we get back to broadcasting and continue our work.” the statement was also posted on Twitter, in Russian. The company’s website is down.

Russia’s telecoms regulator claimed TV Rain was “inciting extremism, abusing Russian citizens, massively disrupting public peace and security and encouraging protests”, according to BBC News, which shared videos of staff walking away from the anchor office at the end of Thursday. broadcast.

The video was also widely shared on social media. The channel’s founder, journalist Mikhail Zygar, had posted an open letter earlier signed by more than a dozen journalists and artists critical of the war and calling for an end to it.

TV Rain is not the only show to shut down in the face of Russian government actions to suppress coverage of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

In addition to blocking the Rain website, the prosecutor general’s office also blocked the site of the Ekho Moskvy radio station, reports Reuters. The station decided to close soon after.

“Ekho Moskvy’s board of directors decided by majority vote to liquidate Ekho Moskvy’s radio channel and website,” wrote editor-in-chief Alexei Venediktov on the Telegram messaging app. The station was one of the last liberal media outlets in Russia.

On Friday, Russia’s parliament passed a law stipulating that those who intentionally spread “false” information about the military face up to 15 years in prison.

According to Reuters, Russian officials have made baseless claims that the United States and its allies are spreading misinformation about Russia. The country’s communications watchdog has already cut off access to news outlets like the BBC, falsely alleging they were spreading false information.

The BBC, however, said in a statement that more Russians than ever were turning to them for information, with bbc.com seeing the number of Russian visitors rise by 252% to 423,000 last week.

“It is often said that the truth is the first casualty of war,” said BBC director-general Tim Davie. “In a conflict where disinformation and propaganda are rampant, there is a clear need for factual, independent information that people can trust – and in a significant development, millions more Russians are turning to the BBC.”

“We will continue to give the Russian people access to the truth, however we can,” Davie said.

In a statement to CBS News, a BBC spokesperson said: “Access to accurate and independent information is a basic human right that should not be denied to the Russian people, millions of whom rely on BBC News every week. We will continue our efforts. to make BBC News available in Russia and the rest of the world.”