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Russia blocks Bild.de website

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Russia extends its restrictive policy towards foreign media. After the ban on working and the banning of Deutsche Welle, the Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor has now announced that Russia is also restricting access to the “Bild” website.

This follows a request from the General Prosecutor’s Office, Roskomnadzor said on Sunday. No reason was given for the restrictions on the German newspaper’s online presence.

[Alle aktuellen Nachrichten zum russischen Angriff auf die Ukraine bekommen Sie mit der Tagesspiegel-App live auf ihr Handy. Hier für Apple- und Android-Geräte herunterladen.]

Springer-Verlag confirmed the process on Sunday. “Bild reports 24 hours a day on Putin’s war of aggression in Ukraine, also in Russian. The blocking of Bild.de by Russian censorship confirms us in our journalistic work for democracy, freedom and human rights,” “Bild” editor-in-chief Johannes Boie said at the request of the Tagesspiegel.The blockade also encourages the newspaper to “provide Russian citizens with even more opportunities to learn more news and facts beyond the propaganda of the Russian government.”

Articles in Russian since the end of February.

A possible explanation for the restriction of access to Bild.de would be the decision made by “Bild” at the end of February to also distribute selected articles in Russian via the website.

Bans and restrictions like those on Deutsche Welle and now on Bild.de can be circumvented by VPN access and the use of Tor browsers, as can the German ban on RT.DE. Deutsche Welle had also mirrored its website, and Reporters Without Borders had joined, thus expanding access. “Bild” content is also offered through a Telegram channel.

Tough penalties for alleged fake news about Russia

On Friday, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved a law that criminalizes false reports about the activities of Russian representatives abroad. Violations are punishable by up to 15 years in prison, the Interfax news agency reported.

According to a high-ranking legislator, the new law became necessary because people were spreading false news about Russian embassies and other Russian institutions abroad.

In early March, the Russian parliament passed a law that provides up to 15 years in prison for spreading “fake news” about the military. Because this also exposes foreign media correspondents in Russia to the risk of criminal prosecution, many publications and broadcasters withdrew their correspondents.

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