Russian Media Censor Roskomnadzor Blocks Leading Crypto News Website BlockBlog

Bits.media, one of the leading news outlets in the Russian crypto space, has been blocked by Russian telecommunications and mass media watchdog Roskomnadzor. The site is now inaccessible via most Russian Internet service providers, the online edition announced, indicating its intention to challenge the measure.

Roskomnadzor denies Russians access to Bits.media

Crypto news website Bits.media became unavailable to most of its readers in Russia this week and its team discovered that Russian media censor Roskomnadzor was to blame. The government agency has added an unknown number of its pages to a register of Internet sources disseminating prohibited information.

The blocking resulted from a decision of the Volzhsky district court of the city of Saratov in a lawsuit filed by the local prosecutor’s office on March 31. The judge granted the prosecutor’s request on April 24 after reviewing the case in the absence of the media owners. , Bits.media explained in a post.

According to the published decision, five URLs were targeted because they contained “information aimed at promoting crimes in the area of ​​legalization (laundering) of the proceeds of crime”. It is still unclear whether only Bits.media addresses were affected and the formal reason for the measure is unknown. Platform founder Ivan Tikhonov reportedly said:

We are an interested party in the case, but no one has informed us of the procedure. We did not have the opportunity to remove the documents about which the Saratov prosecutor’s office had questions. We strongly disagree with the verdict.

Bits.media plans to appeal the court’s decision as it has won a similar case in the past. In January 2015, Russian internet regulators blocked the website citing a decision of the Nevyansk City Court of Sverdov region. The local prosecutor motivated his plea by the need to “protect an indefinite circle of people”. Seven websites were restricted, but the decision was reversed later that year.

Then, in March 2020, Roskomnadzor blacklisted five websites offering cryptocurrency-related information and services. The forum section of Bits.media has also been targeted. Just like the current website, it was still available in Russia via VPNs and browser plugins.

Other Russian crypto platform operators have also successfully challenged such decisions. In March 2018, the Saint Petersburg City Court overturned the ban on 40 websites publishing crypto content. The following month, Russia’s Supreme Court overturned a decision restricting access to the Bitcoininfo.ru portal. In May 2019, Roskomnadzor had to remove Bestchange.ru from its registry after prosecutors gave up blocking the website.

Keywords in this story

Bits.media, block, block, censor, Court, Crypto News, Media, press briefing, online edition, prosecutor, prosecutor’s office, Roskomnadzor, Russia, Russian, Site, website

Do you expect Roskomnadzor and the Russian judiciary to take similar action regarding other crypto media? Tell us in the comments section below.

Lubomir Tassev

Lubomir Tassev is a tech-savvy Eastern European journalist who loves Hitchens’ quote: “Being a writer is who I am, rather than what I do.” Besides crypto, blockchain and fintech, international politics and economics are two other sources of inspiration.

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