Russia Tries to Censor Kazakh Coverage of Ukraine War
Russia’s desire to control the media has spread beyond its borders, as Russia’s media regulator ordered an independent media outlet in Kazakhstan to remove its reporting on the Ukrainian conflict.
Kazakh independent media outlet Vlast.kz (Власть) reported Tuesday that the Russian Service for Supervision of Communications (Roskomnadzor) has demanded that Kazakh authorities remove news about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine from the Vlast.kz site or it will be blocked in Russia.
Specifically, Roskomnadzor ordered that reports be removed about the firing of Russian missiles in the Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia, which killed scores of people, and the death toll of citizens in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, which had been under Russian siege for several months.
Despite the threat, the Kazakh media outlet stated that it will not delete material critical of Russian authorities.
“Vlast is a Kazakhstani publication, and its operations are not governed by Russian legislation or regulatory bodies. The editors have no plans to delete this or any other news regarding the war in Ukraine, and will continue to cover it regardless of what the Russian military censorship department thinks about it,” its statement said.
According to Roskomsvoboda, a Russian human rights and internet freedom NGO, this is not the first time that Roskomnadzor has warned Kazakh media about coverage of Russia’s “special operation” in Ukraine. Similar letters were sent to NewTimes.kz, Ratel.kz, and Exclusive.kz, as well as Kyrgyz Kloop.
Roskomsvoboda’s lawyer Yevgeny Kravchenko explained that Roskomnadzor focuses on the reports written in Russian language.“If the information is not deleted, the source will simply be blocked in Russia,” said Kravchenko.
According to statistics from the roster of banned sites compiled for the Russian daily Kommersant by Roskomsvoboda, access to 14,800 Internet resources in Russia was restricted from Dec. 5 to Dec. 11.
So far this year, an average of 4,900 resources were blocked every week in Russia.
According to Reporters Without Borders (RSF), an international non-profit and non-governmental organization safeguarding the right to freedom of information, “almost all independent media have been banned, blocked and/or declared foreign agents,” in Russia since the country invaded Ukraine in February.
It also stated that all other media are subject to military censorship.