Ukraine war latest: Nato rejects idea of no-fly zone over conflict area

March 4, 2022 by No Comments

Russia blocked the websites of several international and local media outlets on Friday as the government cracked down on the coverage of the invasion of Ukraine.

The state media watchdog Roskomnadzor told the Interfax news agency it had banned the websites of BBC, Deutsche Welle, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Russian-led outlet Meduza over spreading “fake news” about the war.

Russia had earlier introduced regulations about reporting on the conflict, including a ban on calling it a “war”. The lower house of parliament on Friday passed legislation criminalising “fake news” about the war, carrying a sentence of up to 15 years.

An MP said this penalty applied to Russian citizens and foreign media in Russia, Tass reported.

The BBC Russian service said its website had been added to the state register of media whose publications “contain calls for mass disorder, extremism and participation in unlawful mass actions”.

The BBC condemned the action by Russia and said it would seek to continue to provide news for a Russian audience.

The number of Russians turning to its news has soared, it said, especially after the government shut down independent Russian media, most notably of Echo of Moscow radio and TV Rain.

“In less than a week since Russia’s war with Ukraine began, the BBC News Russian Service’s audience has more than tripled, from 3.1mn users a week, to 10.7mn,” the service said in a statement. “The most popular page among Russian-speaking users is a live text broadcast of the conflict.”

Roskomnadzor listed the reasons these outlets were banned, including the spread of “fake” information regarding “the essence of the special military operation on the territory of Ukraine” and its form, Meduza reported.

Other reasons included were the methods of combat operations, such as attacks on civilians and, strikes on civilian objects as well as losses of the Russian army and civilian casualties, Meduza reported.

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