Amazon, Discovery, and WarnerMedia have joined hands in a media boycott of Russia and have suspended all services, including theatrical releases in the country amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.
“Discovery has decided to suspend the broadcast of its channels and services in Russia,” said a spokesperson of Discovery.
WarnerMedia and Discover both suspended operations in Russia. 15 Discovery channels were taken off air from Wednesday. Discovery operated these channels in Russia as a joint venture between the channel and the National Media Group of Russia.
On Wednesday, CEO of WarnerMedia Jason Kilar said that the company is “pausing all new businesses in Russia…ceasing broadcast of our channels, halting all new content licensing with Russian entities, and pausing our planned theatrical and games releases.”
As a result, WarnerMedia’s latest movies and TV shows will not be distributed in Russia. Kilar further said that “we are following the situation closely, and future business decisions will be made with that context in mind.”
Meanwhile, Amazon suspended its web services and shipment of products in Russia.
“We are also suspending access to Prime Video for customers based in Russia, and we will no longer be taking orders for New World, which is the only video game we sell directly in Russia,” said Amazon in an official statement.
Amazon halts product shipments to Russia and cuts off Prime Video access https://t.co/M3D833uZ8i
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) March 10, 2022
There have been similar boycotts by BBC, CNN, and Deutsche Welle (German broadcaster) in response to Russian advancements in Ukraine. These boycotts came after President Vladimir Putin’s new censorship laws were introduced in the country on March 4. These new restrictions made it hard for broadcasters to continue operations in Russia.
The new censorship law is designed to stop the spread of ‘false information’ from Western media regarding the Russian military and the situation in Ukraine. The law also makes it a criminal offense for broadcasters who call the war in Ukraine “a war,” and violators will get 15 years of imprisonment.
Discovery operates various channels in Russia through a joint venture with Russia’s National Media Group. The boycott could impact the agreement with Channel One of Russia.
On March 6, Netflix also suspended its streaming service and operating in Russia after the streaming giant refused to offer pro-government propaganda channels and shows on its service.
There is a separate law in Russia that requires all broadcasters in the country with more than 100,000 subscribers or viewers to carry 20+ pro-government channels or shows. Netflix came under the new law but refused to carry it through.
Many countries have imposed sanctions on Russia, including travel bans and financial sanctions. The US has banned trade with Russia, banning imports of oil and gas. Similarly, Starbucks and Mcdonald’s have shut down their businesses and restaurants in Russia, along with Coca-Cola suspending all operations in Russia.