Russia Bans SoundCloud for Spreading Fake News of Ukraine War

SoundCloud, one of the world’s largest online audio distribution platforms, was banned in Russia on Saturday following accusations that the audio service promoted falsehoods about Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, Russian media reported.

The nation’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor initially said that the platform was blocked because it had violated Russia’s data protection law by disseminating false information of public importance, and also claiming that it flouted regulations prohibiting calls for massive civil unrest and extremist activities.

According to Roskomnadzor’s statement on Sunday, Russia has blocked the SoundCloud service for spreading misinformation about the war in Ukraine.

According to the Roskomnadzor document cited by various outlets, the RussianProsecutor General’s Office requested the access to be suspended because SoundCloud was displaying false information about the essence of Moscow’s special military operation in Ukraine.

The document noted, in particular, spreading fake information on the Russian army’s form and the methods of warfare including attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure, and the numerous civilian casualties at the hands of Russian troops.

Such fake information, according to Russian legislation, is subject to being immediately blocked.

Pointing out that it had twice demanded that SoundCloud’s owner delete the objectionable materials, Roskomnadzor underscored that SoundCloud will be unblocked should the prohibited information be removed.

A number of Western-based tech giants have been imposed various restrictions and fines in recent months by Russian authorities for failing to comply with local legislation.

Russia adopted a law in early March allowing the authorities to impose substantial fines on entities and persons for discrediting the Russian army or calling for sanctions against Moscow. The perpetrator could face a prison sentence of up to 15 years if the offense it made leads to “grave consequences.”

After they allowed online hate speech against Russian nationals, Facebook and Instagram were banned in Russia in March as extremist organizations.

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