CPJ condemns blocking of news websites in Russia

New York, March 13, 2014–The Committee to Protect Journalists is alarmed by the blocking today of independent and pro-opposition news websites in Russia, including Ezhednevny Zhurnal, Grani, Kasparov, and the website of the liberal radio station Ekho Moskvy. The popular blog of anti-corruption activist Aleksei Navalny and the personal blogging platform LiveJournal were also blocked. 

“Russian authorities are unabashedly cleansing the media landscape of independent voices that have the power to shape minds,” said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova. “We condemn this ban on alternative sources of news and opinion, and call on Moscow to cease this Soviet-style crackdown.”

A restrictive law signed by President Vladimir Putin on January 30 allows government agencies to block without a court order websites carrying what they deem to be illegal or harmful content. It is unclear what specific articles carried by the blocked websites are deemed illegal or harmful. Today’s move follows a number of other anti-press actions.