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Russian Media Regulator Blocks More Online News Sources Over Coverage Of Ukraine War.

The logo of the Russian state communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, which has been blocking access to an increasing number of independent media and their accounts on social networks. (file photo)

The logo of the Russian state communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, which has been blocking access to an increasing number of independent media and their accounts on social networks. (file photo)

Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor has blocked access to several more domestic and international media websites over the coverage of Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
The websites of several media outlets and online news sources across Russia that among others included Novye Izvestiya, Ust Kut 24, Permdaily.ru, and Kavkazsky Uzel, as well as the award-winning investigation website Bellingcat, two Israel-based Russian-language media outlets -- the 9 TV Channel Israel and Vesti Israel -- Estonian newspaper Postimees, and Belarus-based Euroradio, became inaccessible on March 16. Roskomnadzor said the move was the result of an order by the Prosecutor-General's Office which said media outlets that "carry false information of social importance that may cause a threat to the lives and/or health of citizens, and threaten a disruption of the social order and/or public safety” must be blocked. The number of the websites banned by Roskomnadzor is currently 32. Roskomnadzor has blocked access to an increasing number of independent media and their accounts on social networks, including Current Time, RFE/RL's Russian Service, and its regional projects since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine on February 24. It has blocked access to global tech giants Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram in recent days. Roskomnadzor has ordered Russian media to only publish information provided by official sources. It has also forbidden media outlets from describing the Ukraine conglict as a war or invasion, instead ordering it to be called a "special military operation." Independent news media in Russia have been under pressure for years, mainly due to the decade-old “foreign agent” law. But since the Russian invasion, a growing number of Russian and foreign media organizations have suspended news operations within Russia, pulled their correspondents, and shifted bylines to anonymous names. The restrictions are the tightest within Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. On March 16, the Moscow-based Novaya gazeta newspaper said that it had resumed its coverage of the war in Ukraine. It had suspended this coverage several days ago and deleted previously published online reports from Ukraine, fearing criminal prosecution due to a bill signed into law by President Vladimir Putin on March 5 that calls for sentences of up to 15 years in prison for people who distribute "false news" about the Russian Army.

With reporting by Interfax, TASS, and AFP

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