The Russian Prosecutor General has blocked access to two independent media outlets, Echo of Moscow and TV Rain, over alleged violations of their reporting on the invasion of Ukraine.
In a statement, the attorney general accused the two outlets of spreading what he called “known to be false information regarding the actions of the Russian military, as part of a special operation to protect the People’s Republic of Donetsk and the Lugansk People’s Republic”.
It also indicates that Echo of Moscow and TV Rain have published information which they claim calls “for extremism, violence against citizens of the Russian Federation, massive violations of public order and public security”. Russian authorities prohibit gatherings without a permit and may consider the dissemination or communication of specific information about unauthorized gatherings as organizing illegal demonstrations.
On Saturday, Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor warned 10 local news outlets that it would restrict access to their publications unless they stopped spreading what it called false information, including references to the military operation in Ukraine as an “attack, invasion or declaration of war”.
In letters sent to these outlets, the regulator said it complained about the alleged “false information” they had published about the bombing of Ukrainian cities and the deaths of civilians caused by Russian armed forces.
The media notified were: Echo of Moscow, InoSMI, Mediazona, New Times, TV Rain, Svobodnaya Pressa, Krym.Realii, Novaya Gazeta, Zhurnalist and Lenizdat. Novaya Gazeta editor-in-chief Dmitry Muratov won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2021. Some of these outlets have been designated by Russian authorities as foreign agents.
“Unless the inaccurate information above is removed, access to these sources will be restricted,” he said in a statement on Saturday, announcing a media inquiry.