Washington, D.C. — Today the Russian government warned the Voice of America of its intention to block the VOA Russian language service’s news website, www.golosameriki.com, unless it removes coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The Russian government’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, claims the news site “contains false messages about terrorist attacks or other kind (sic) of information of public concern.”
The media regulator demands that the VOA Russian service remove a news story from its site that provided factual reporting on the second day of the Russian invasion. The article included widely reported facts regarding Russian bombardment of cities, a Russian claim to have captured an airport close to Kyiv, and statements from witnesses as well as reporters inside Ukraine.
“Any attempts to interfere with the free flow of news and information are deeply troubling. We find this order to be in direct opposition to the values of all democratic societies,” says Acting VOA Director Yolanda López.
The warning to VOA follows a broader crackdown on the press by the Russian government. The same regulators also moved to shut down two Russian news organizations that reach large audiences, Ekho Moskvy and Dozhd, as well as Current Time’s website, a joint production of Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.
“The Russian people deserve unfettered access to a free press and, therefore, we cannot comply with the Roskomnadzor’s request,” said Acting Director López.
Voice of America reaches a global weekly audience of more than 311.8 million people in 47 languages. VOA programs are delivered on satellite, cable, shortwave, FM, medium wave, streaming audio and video and more than 2,350 media outlets worldwide. It is funded by the U.S. Congress through USAGM.
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Contact Bridget Serchak
Director of Public Relations, Office of Public Relations