Russian watchdog blocks access to some foreign media outlets, including BBC, VOA

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Russia has blocked access to some foreign media websites and accused them of spreading false information about the war in Ukraine

Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor on Friday said it had blocked the websites for the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Deutsche Welle as well as other media outlets. 

“Access has been restricted to a host of information resources owned by foreigners,” Roskomnadzor said in a statement. “The grounds for restricting access to these information resources on the territory of the Russian Federation was their deliberate and systematic circulation of materials containing false information.”

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Rebekah Koffler, a former Defense Intelligence Agency officer, previously told Fox News Digital that Russia would “crack down further and possibly ban broadcasts by Western media” as Putin faced trouble at home controlling the narrative about the invasion, which he stills calls a “special military operation.” 

Roskomnadzor earlier this week issued guidance that Russian outlets should only use “trusted” sources for reporting on the war and that failure to do so would result in closure. The watchdog then proceeded to shut down two independent Russian news outlets, including Rain TV. 

But the agency said that the foreign outlets named Friday had spread false information about the “essence of the special military operation in Ukraine, its form, the methods of combat operations, the Russian armed forces’ losses and civilian victims.” 

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The BBC had already announced Thursday that it would set up shortwave transmitters so that people in Ukraine and Russia would be able to continue receiving information. 

“Access to accurate, independent information is a fundamental human right which should not be denied to the people of Russia, millions of whom rely on BBC News every week,” the company said following the shutdown. 

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Voices of America said its Russian language service will continue to provide “accurate, unbiased coverage of the Russia invasion of Ukraine and cannot comply with Roskomnadzor’s request to remove factual news coverage.” 

British Defense Secretary Ben Wallace labeled the move an “outrageous step against our freedoms.” 

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“I think it’s the wrong thing to do,” Wallace told reporters during a meeting in Copenhagen with the defense ministers of Denmark and Sweden. “It won’t save President Putin from the truth.” 

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