Russia’s communications watchdog has restricted access to the Russian-language websites of the BBC and Radio Liberty for spreading what it cast as false information about the conflict in Ukraine.
Russia has repeatedly complained that Western media organizations offer a partial - and often anti-Russian - view of the world while failing to hold their own leaders to account for devastating foreign wars such as Iraq and corruption.
Western leaders have for years raised concerns about the dominance of state media in Russia and say the freedoms won when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 have been rolled back by President Vladimir Putin.
Russia’s RIA news agency said access to the websites of BBC Russian service as well as Radio Liberty and the Meduza media outlet were being limited, citing the media watchdog’s official register.
According to an official notice received on March 3, the Russian communications watchdog said Radio Liberty’s Russian service had spread “obviously fake socially significant information about the alleged Russian attack on Ukrainian territory”.
“Such information is wrong,” Radio Liberty cited the official notice as saying.
Describing the situation in Ukraine has become a sensitive issue in Moscow.
President Putin said the “special military operation” was essential to ensure Russian security after the United States enlarged the NATO military alliance to Russia’s borders and supported pro-Western leaders in Kyiv.
Russian officials do not use the word “invasion” and say Western media have failed to report on what they cast as the “genocide” of Russian-speaking people in Ukraine.