Russia Blocks Major Crypto News Website following another British newspaper Telegraph
Crypto news website Bits.media became unavailable from the first week of July
to most of its Russian readers as it has been blocked by Russia’s telecom and
mass media watchdog, Roskomnadzor.
An unspecified number of its pages to a register of internet sources disseminating banned information added by the government agency. The webpage is currently unavailable through most Russian internet providers, the online edition announced, stating it plans to challenge the action.
The public authority organization has added an undefined number of its pages to a register of web sources spreading restricted data. The webpage is currently unavailable through most Russian internet services, the web-based release declared, expressing its plans to challenge the action.
A ruling by the Volzhsky District Court of the city of Saratov in a lawsuit started by the local prosecutor’s office on March 31 caused the block of the website. The judge approved the prosecutor’s request on April 24 in the wake of considering the case without a trace of the media outlet’s owners, Bits.media explained in a post.
As per the published decision, five URLs were targeted as they contained “information aimed at promoting crimes in the field of legalization (laundering) of proceeds from crime.” It stays uncertain whether only Bits.media addresses were impacted and the proper justification behind the action is unknown.
The platform’s founder, Ivan Tikhonov, was quoted as saying, "We are an interested party in the case, but no one notified us of the proceedings. We were not given any opportunity to remove the materials about which the Saratov prosecutor’s office had questions. We strongly disagree with the verdict."
As it has already won a similar case before, Bits.media plans to appeal the court’s decision. In January 2015, Russian media censors blocked the website alluding to a decision by the Nevyansk City Court of the Sverdov region. The local prosecutor motivated his plea with the need to “protect an indefinite circle of persons.” Seven websites were restricted, however the decision was overturned soon thereafter.
Last month Roskomnadzor blocked the British newspaper The Telegraph website in Russia. Access to the site was restricted after it was found to have spread "inaccurate information about the special military operation conducted by Russia's Armed Forces on the territory of Ukraine", TASS news agency cited the regulator as saying.
In March 2020, Roskomnadzor blacklisted five cryptocurrency services & information related websites. Bits.media’s forum section was also targeted. Just as with the website now, it was as yet accessible in Russia via VPNs and browser plugins.
CBW - External Analyst