As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine entered its ninth day, the Kremlin is said to have decided to ban access to social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. Several media outlets claimed that Twitter and Facebook, as well as a number of news organisations, have been blocked in the country.
Russia has blocked access to the websites of many foreign news organisations, including the BBC and Deutsche Welle, for allegedly spreading misleading information about its campaign in Ukraine.
Russia has long claimed that Western media outlets present a distorted – and sometimes anti-Russian – picture of the globe while neglecting to hold their own politicians accountable for disastrous foreign wars like Iraq and corruption.
Russia’s communications watchdog announced on Friday that the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Deutsche Welle, and other news organisations’ websites had been blocked.
The deliberate and systematic dissemination of materials containing misleading information was the basis for banning access to these information resources on Russian Federation territory.
It claimed that the media had spread lies about “the essence of the special military operation in Ukraine, its form, the methods of combat operations (assaults on the population, strikes on civilian infrastructure), Russian armed forces losses, and civilian victims,” as well as “the essence of the special military operation in Ukraine, its form, the methods of combat operations (assaults on the population, strikes on civilian infrastructure), Russian armed forces losses, and civilian victims.”
The BBC stated that the Russian restrictions would not deter it.
The BBC announced on Wednesday that it would begin airing four hours of English news each day on shortwave radio in Ukraine and portions of Russia, reviving an archaic technique used to overcome state censorship during the Cold War.
According to a Reuters reporter, the BBC and Voice of America’s Russian language websites could not be accessed without the use of a Virtual Private Network on Friday. The BBC’s English language site was available, but not the Voice of America’s. For years, Western politicians have expressed alarm about the dominance of state media in Russia, claiming that President Vladimir Putin has clawed back the freedoms gained when the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991.