Russia Bans Major Media Sites Including Facebook, Twitter
Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor cut access to various independent media sites on Thursday, in a broader effort to limit the stream of Western information amid the ongoing Ukraine invasion.
According to web monitor group GlobalCheck, Roskomnadzor, or Federal Service for Supervision, has allegedly blocked the country’s access to various Western social media and news sites including Facebook, Twitter, Apple and Google’s app stores, as well as Russian language-speaking versions of RadioFreeEurope (RFE), the BBC, and Deutsche Welle overnight on March 3-4.
Although it remains unknown why some of the sites were targeted, the Kremlin has a long history of disputes with various news and social media platforms over misinformation and user-data privacy issues. But, according to RFE President Jamie Fly, the blockages are Moscow’s way of limiting the stream of pro-Ukrainian and pro-Western information into Russia.
“Putin is feeding Russians a steady diet of lies about the scope and costs of the war in Ukraine,” he said, assuring audiences that “RFE/RL refuses to censor our content at this critical moment for our Russian audiences. They deserve the truth and we will continue to provide them with factual information about their government’s actions and the consequences that they must now endure.”
According to RFE, its editorial offices received various notices from Roskomnadzor earlier this week, threatening to block its websites if media coverage of the Ukraine conflict continues. The media regulator alleged some of the content portrays “deliberately false socially significant information about Russia’s alleged attack on the territory of Ukraine,” and could lead to “panic among people.”
Earlier this week, the US state department accused Russia of casting a “full assault on media freedom and the truth,” as Kremlin officials allegedly attempt to “mislead and suppress” information surrounding the war on Ukraine. Ironically, though, RT America, which is based in Washington DC and is part of Russian state-funded RT News, suffered a similar fate on Thursday, with its production company, T&R Productions, ceasing production at all locations due to “unforeseen business interruption events.”
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