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Russia still increases censorship against the media (in vain). Small international newspapers such as the Barents Observer also hit
New tightening of censorship in Russia against non-aligned media, even abroad. Roskomnadzor has called for the closure of several newspapers including the Moscow Times and the Barents Observer. The latter is a Norwegian online media based in Kirkenes, which publishes content in English and Russian, specializing in covering events related to the Arctic and the neighboring country. The newspaper is accused of spreading “false information on terrorist acts, unverified and aimed at destabilizing society and the political situation in the Russian Federation”. Following the regulator’s requests, the domains of the targeted newspapers were placed on the federal list of blocked sites. The measures, however, will have limited effectiveness. Thanks to VPNs, in fact, it will be possible to continue reading the media without any problem.
The new media squeeze is a sign of Moscow’s growing difficulties also towards its population
The tightening of Russian censorship, on the other hand, confirms that Moscow is increasingly in trouble in the war in Ukraine. In addition to defeats on the ground, Russia has to deal with the fact that intolerance among the population is growing, despite official propaganda. The confirmation comes from the rapidly increasing trend of people who have begun to find out about alternative sources online. This forced Vladimir Putin’s government to run for cover, including small foreign newspapers such as the Barents Observer and others on the black list. Moreover, the measure is also having an opposite effect with respect to the targets. The Norwegian newspaper, whose closure was also requested in 2019, in fact, sees what happened as a medal and as confirmation of operating in the right direction. As a result, all media involved in Moscow’s decisions are likely to step up their efforts, rather than stop.