Russia cracks down on media, protests amid offensive in neighbouring Ukraine

AgenciesUpdated: Monday, March 07, 2022, 09:50 AM IST
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As part of an attempt to control what information the domestic audience sees about the invasion of Ukraine, Russian authorities continued to block independent news outlets and arrest protesters on Sunday.

Several prominent independent online outlets were blocked on Sunday, on top of dozens of others that were blocked last week. Others decided to halt operations in Russia because of new repressive laws or refused to cover the invasion at all because of the pressure. Hundreds of protesters have been detained all across Russia.

The new additions to the list of blocked media included Mediazona, a news site that covers Russia's police and justice system and has been an indispensable source of information about political arrests and high-profile court cases; the 7x7 site covering regional news; the Troitsky Variant popular science newspaper that has published an open letter decrying the invasion; and two regional news sites that also spoke out against the attack. U.S.-funded broadcaster Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty announced Sunday it was suspending its operation in Russia after it said the country intensified pressure on its journalists and tax authorities initiated bankruptcy proceedings against it.

On Sunday, protests spanned from Siberia to St. Petersburg, with dozens of Russians taking to the streets in different cities. According to OVD-Info, a rights group that tracks political arrests, a total of 1,558 people were detained in 43 Russian cities on Sunday, part of nearly 10,000 people detained since Feb. 24

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