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Russian News Site Says Watchdog Wants Its Twitter Account Deleted

MBK Media content is often critical of the Kremlin.
MBK Media content is often critical of the Kremlin.

MOSCOW -- MBK Media says Russia’s state media-monitoring agency, Roskomnadzor, has demanded Twitter delete the news outlet's account for alleged violations of Russian law.

MBK Media, a news website critical of the Kremlin, on March 17 quoted a message it says came from Roskomnadzor as saying the social-network operator had received an official request regarding content on the @MBKhMedia account.

Twitter has not commented on the report.

MBK Media said Roskomnadzor claimed its Twitter account contained materials from an organization deemed "undesirable" by Russian authorities, an allegation the news website denied.

Roskomnadzor referred to content from the London-based Open Russia foundation funded by long-imprisoned former oil tycoon-turned-Putin critic Mikhail Khodorkovsky, it said.

MBK Media Editor in Chief Veronika Kutsyllo said the agency had not previously received any warnings from Russia’s media-monitoring agency.

She also said that MBK Media “has nothing to do with any organization, desirable or undesirable” and does not publish “anyone's materials, except our own.”

Russian authorities blocked the website of MBK Media in 2018.

Russian authorities consider Open Russia an “undesirable” organization and have repeatedly targeted the organization and its leadership. The organization’s website is also blocked in Russia.

Roskomnadzor last week announced a slowing down, or throttling, of Twitter's speed across Russia for its "failure" to remove what it said was banned content that encouraged suicide among children and information about drugs and child pornography.

On March 16, the agency’s deputy head, Vadim Subbotin, said the U.S. company still wasn't complying with the demands of the Russian authorities.

“If things go on like this, then in a month it will be blocked, on an out-of-court basis,” Subbotin said, according to Interfax.

Roskomnadzor’s actions come amid Russian efforts to tighten control on social media and a clampdown on platforms that have been used to organize protests in support of jailed opposition leader Aleksei Navalny.

With reporting by Reuters

RFE/RL has been declared an "undesirable organization" by the Russian government.

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