Russia bans Google News for 'spreading disinformation' about invasion of Ukraine

24 March 2022, 10:11 | Updated: 24 March 2022, 10:13

Russia has banned Google News for "spreading disinformation".
Russia has banned Google News for "spreading disinformation". Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Russia has banned Google News for "spreading disinformation" about its ongoing invasion of Ukraine.

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The Interfax news agency in Russia claimed the communications regulator - Roskomnadzor - acted on a request from the office of the country's prosecutor general over the "special military operation" in Ukraine.

It said the news aggregator service was allowing access to what it called fake material about the invasion.

"The American online news resource in question provided access to numerous publications and materials containing inauthentic and publicly important information about the course of the special military operation on the territory of Ukraine," Interfax quoted the regulator as saying.

Google confirmed that access was being limited in statement.

"We've confirmed that some people are having difficulty accessing the Google News app and website in Russia and that this is not due to any technical issues on our end," they said.

"We've worked hard to keep information services like News accessible to people in Russia for as long as possible."

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The information war surrounding the conflict in Ukraine has added another layer to tensions between the West and Russia in the past month.

It comes after Moscow demanded Google stop spreading what it called threats against Russian citizens on YouTube.

Meanwhile, the UK's regulator revoked Russian state-backed news channel RT's licence last week amid 29 ongoing investigations into the "due impartiality" of its programmes.

In Russia, a new law has made it illegal to report any event that could discredit the Russian military.

Those spreading intentionally "fake" news about the military could face a jail term of up to 15 years in the information war over Ukraine.

Roskomnadzor ordered media to only publish information provided by official sources, insisting their actions are not described as a "war" but "special military operations."