Responding to the Russian authorities’ decision to block access to Amnesty International’s Russian-language website as part of the Kremlin’s assault on freedom of expression following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Eastern Europe and Central Asia Director, said:
“People in Russia have the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds and from all available sources. By blocking Amnesty’s Russian-language site, along with those of many other human rights organizations, independent media outlets and social media platforms, the Kremlin is showing that it can’t stomach the truth about the horror Russia has unleased in Ukraine.
This is just the latest attempt by the Russian authorities to suppress information about the possible war crimes its troops are committing in Ukraine and hide them from internet users across the country. We call on Russia to immediately unblock Amnesty’s Russian language website and allow people to freely decide what sources of information they want to access.”
On 11 March, it transpired that the Russian media regulator, Roskomnadzor, blocked access to Amnesty International’s Russian-language website (eurasia.amnesty.org), as well as the websites of Human Rights Movement Golos (an independent election watchdog) and two independent media outlets, Colta and Vazhnye Istorii (Important Stories). Last week, the latter was designated as an “undesirable organization”, which criminalized its operations and barred it from working in Russia. The blocking of all these websites was implemented at the request of the Prosecutor General.
Over the last three weeks, the Russian authorities have unleashed an unprecedented nationwide crackdown on independent journalism, anti-war protests and any voices opposing Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, including by effectively banning the use of such terms as “war” and “invasion” and criminalizing independent reporting on the conflict.
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