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Russia restricts access to Google news, accuses company of disseminating false news

Russia restricts access to Google news, accuses company of disseminating false news
24 Mar, 2022
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Russian media regulator, the Roskomnadzor, has restricted access to the Google News Service in the country accusing Google of providing false information about Russia’s war against Ukraine, according to Russian news agencies.

The Roskomnadzor, short for the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, said that the decision was taken at the request of the Russian General Prosecutor’s office.

It accused Google news of providing access to numerous publications and materials that contain false information pertaining to the “special military operation on Ukrainian territory,” the statement said.

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Meanwhile, Google confirmed that some individuals were having difficulties in accessing the Google News app and website in Russia, claiming that it wasn’t owing to any technical issues from Google.

“We’ve worked hard to keep information services like News accessible to people in Russia for as long as possible," the Google spokesperson told news agency Agence France-Presse (AFP).

The Russian-Ukraine war began on February 24 and has seen the Russian government tighten its noose on free speech through the internet. While many social media websites such as BBC, Instagram had been restricted, Twitter has a limited access in the country.

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Earlier this month, the Russian government introduced two criminal offences, one for discrediting the Russian Army and another for spreading false information about Russia. The offences carry a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, which is of particular concern to opposition parties in the country.

Multiple IT companies and social media companies have pulled out of Russia since the start of the war. Some of these include the likes of Apple, Alphabet, Netflix, TikTok, payment services and gaming services, among a host of others.