Russia Threatens Critical Georgian Press Over War Coverage

Two Georgian online media outlets, and Accentnews, said Russia’s communications regulator had warned them to remove a Russian-language article related to Moscow’s war against Ukraine.

Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) reportedly addressed Netgazeti over the report about the death of Russian major-general Oleg Mityaev in Ukraine published on March 16.

A screenshot of the correspondence published by Netgazeti on April 9 shows Roskomnadzor warning it will restrict access to the media outlet 24 hours after the notice if it does not take down the article.

Roskomandzor said in the letter that it was required by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Russia to take measures to restrict access to the news piece over the “violation of the distribution of information.”

Netgazeti noted that a document attached in the mail defined any dissemination of pieces containing “untrustworthy” information about Russia’s “special military operation,” methods of warfare, and losses of the Russian army as a violation.

Accentnews reported on its part on April 8 that it had received a similar warning from Moscow over a news report about the President of the Russian movie festival Kinotavr canceling this year’s event over the “aggressive war” against Ukraine.

Neither media outlet has complied with Roskomnadzor’s request to remove the news pieces that upset Moscow.

Earlier in March Russia hastily adopted legislation outlawing the spread of “fake” reports — which deviate from Moscow’s official line — about its bloody invasion of Ukraine.

The draconian laws on war-related “fakes” prompted some of Russia’s remaining independent media voices to fall silent.

Novaya Gazeta, often dubbed as Russia’s last independent newspaper, decided to temporarily suspend its operations, while Ekho Moskvy, an independent broadcaster, also liquidated its radio channel and the website. Independent TV channel Dozhd (Rain) had also stopped its work, with its staff fleeing abroad, including to Georgia.