Russia Threatens to Block BBC

Russian telecommunications regulator Roskomnadzor has made plenty of headlines of late, especially with the introduction of a new blogger monitoring law, now today it is threatening to censor the BBC’s local website over an interview with an “extremist”.


Photo: Nomad_Soul / Shutterstock

The BBC ran a story on July 31 with comments from artist Artem Loskutov on the issue of Siberian separatists campaigning for autonomy for the region. In the interview, Loskutov firmly backs the campaign and calls on supporters to join a march against Putin and the flow of Siberian tax money to Moscow.

Gigaom has provided some translated news story detailing Roskomnadzor’s demands that the interview be pulled from the site because it “appeals to riots, extremist activities or participation in mass public activities conducted in violation of the legal order.”

BBC is refusing to do so and the regulator may end up throwing their weight behind a block on the Russian-language BBC site in question, the Izvestia newspaper reported this morning.

“We can fully block the BBC Russian service website on the territory of our country. In fact, not only we can, but we have to do it, because the Prosecutor General’s Office has assigned Roskomnadzor to block the access to the sites and resources, publishing information of that kind,” the newspaper quoted the source as saying.

Reports claim that authorities have sent up to two notifications to BBC for the story’s removals but so far the BBC has ignored them.

This isn’t the first time that Loskutov has drawn the ire of Roskomnadzor though, with an interview on Russian site being pulled before while the regulator has previously banned the pro-Siberian march’s social media pages on Russian social network VKontakte.