Roskomnadzor has blocked the supposedly independent Bellingcat
Russia’s internet and media watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has blocked access to the website of the Netherlands-based investigative journalism group Bellingcat, along with 31 other outlets.
According to Roskomsvoboda, an activist group monitoring access restrictions in the Russian segment of the internet, Bellingcat’s page was blocked on Wednesday at the request of Russia’s prosecutor general’s office. The watchdog’s own website seems to corroborate that information as well.
Along with Bellingcat, dozens of other lesser-known media outlets, both foreign and domestic, ended up off limits to Russian internet users on Wednesday.
It is not clear yet what the specific reason is for this latest move, though since the start of Russia’s offensive against Ukraine on February 24, Moscow has enacted several laws and regulations aimed at preventing the spread of disinformation regarding its military operation.
A whole host of media outlets, both domestic and foreign, have fallen victim to these new rules.
In early October 2021, Russian authorities declared Bellingcat a foreign agent – a status which placed certain restrictions on the group’s operations in Russia.
Founded back in 2014, Bellingcat claims that it specializes in fact-checking and open-source intelligence, with both professional and citizen journalists allowed to contribute. Among the group’s pet topics are armed conflicts, human rights abuses, and criminal groups and their operations.