Russian President Vladimir Putin signed changes to his country’s election laws on Tuesday that place new restrictions on media coverage and opposition campaigns ahead of Russia’s next presidential election.

According to a report by the Associated Press (AP), the new amendments restrict coverage of Russia’s election commission sessions to only accredited journalists employed by registered media outlets. The changes could mean that freelance journalists and independent reporters will be barred from covering the meetings.

Putin has yet to say if he will be running for reelection in Russia’s election scheduled for March 2024, although the 71-year-old Kremlin leader is expected to announce his bid for a fifth term in the coming weeks, reported the independent Russian newspaper The Moscow Times.

Tuesday’s changes also bar media personnel from covering any actions by Russia’s election commission at military bases or in territories under martial law without prior permission. Parts of eastern and southern Ukraine that were illegally annexed by Putin last fall have been under martial law for nearly a year.

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