It’s been just over two weeks since Russia invaded Ukraine, which has led to Russia being the most sanctioned country in the world. Companies are pulling their products and services from Russia, platforms are restricting access to Russian state-controlled media (partly driven by EU sanctions) and demonetising those accounts, and governments are requesting platforms to implement changes to their products to minimize security risks.
The Russian government, on the other hand, has blocked various platforms and news sites and passed new legislation that effectively criminalizes the process of independent journalism. The country’s mass media regulator, Roskomnadzor, has also clamped down on any outlet using words like ‘war’ and ‘invade’ to describe Russia’s activities in Ukraine. This has led to multiple news outlets pausing operations from inside Russia due to enhanced security threats against journalists as well as multiple independent Russian news organizations ceasing operations entirely. In early March, the BBC relaunched shortwave radio broadcasts (World War II-era broadcast technology that can travel long distances and is accessible on portable radios) and Elon Musk activated SpaceX’s Starlink satellite internet service in Ukraine and sent terminals to the country as internet services were disrupted.
The Tow Center is tracking actions taken globally by platforms, publishers, and governments that affect the information ecosystem in Russia and Ukraine. This includes any requests from various governments to platform companies, shifting platform policies, changes due to new sanctions and legislation, new products or technologies necessitated by critical infrastructure being rendered unavailable, as well as changes made due to increased security risks.
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