Russia Bans Google News for Reporting "Unreliable" Info on War in Ukraine

Colin Thierry
Colin Thierry Writer
Colin Thierry Colin Thierry Writer

Roskomnadzor, Russia’s telecommunications regulator, has banned Google News and blocked access to the domain for providing access to “unreliable information” on the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Based on a request from the Russian Prosecutor General’s Office, Roskomnadzor has restricted access to the Internet service News.Google in the country,” the Russian Internet regulator told reporters.

“The mentioned U.S. Internet news resource provided access to numerous publications and materials containing unreliable, publicly significant information about the course of the special military operation in Ukraine,” Roskomnadzor added.

This decision follows new legislation signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin that makes it illegal to spread “knowingly fake news” about the Russian army’s operations in Ukraine, introducing jail terms of up to 15 years.

Earlier in March, Roskomnadzor asked Google to stop ad campaigns spreading misinformation about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on YouTube videos.

In response, Google instead took action against disinformation campaigns regarding Russia’s invasion and blocked YouTube channels belonging to Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik in Europe at the request of the European Union.

Roskomnadzor protested the decision, demanding the immediate removal of all access restrictions to official accounts of Russian media (including RT and Sputnik) across Europe.

Ban on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

On Feb. 26, the telecoms regulator notified independent Russian media outlets (including Ekho Moskvy, InoSMI, Mediazona, New Times, Dozhd, Svobodnaya Pressa, Krym. Realii, Novaya Gazeta, Journalist, and Lenizdatnot) not to spread false info about the shelling of Ukrainian cities, and to stop calling the “ongoing military operation” in Ukraine an attack or invasion.

Earlier in March, Russia also banned Instagram a week after blocking Facebook and Twitter in the country, following the Prosecutor General’s Office demands.

Although the decision to ban Facebook was motivated by Meta booting pro-Russia media outlets and news agencies (like RIA Novosti, Sputnik, and Russia Today) off the platform, the Instagram ban was triggered by Meta’s decision to allow calls for violence in some countries on Facebook and Instagram against Russian invaders.

Roskomnadzor also blocked access to multiple foreign news outlets (some designated as foreign agents), including Voice of America, BBC, DW, and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, accusing them of spreading misinformation in regard to the ongoing invasion in Ukraine.

About the Author

About the Author

Colin Thierry is a former cybersecurity researcher and journalist for SafetyDetectives who has written a wide variety of content for the web over the past 2 years. In his free time, he enjoys spending time outdoors, traveling, watching sports, and playing video games.

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