Russia criticizes Western censorship

Maria Sacharova is the spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry and, as so often, the woman has spoken out clearly for the hypocritical West, in particular the censorship of Internet companies under pressure from Western governments.

Russia criticizes western censorship

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Blocking of Cuban government media accounts by Google

On August 20, the US’s Google blocked the accounts of the Cuban publisher Granma and the leading news channels Mesa Redonda and Cubavision Internacional. It accused them of violating US export laws. Where there’s a will, there’s a way. An article in US law was found as an excuse to block these sites.

As usual, Google did not deem it necessary to provide a full or even partial explanation for its actions. This unceremonious blocking is restrictive and violates universal democratic principles by limiting freedom of access to information and its dissemination. This was a deliberate action by the IT giant.

The only argument that was offered was a reference to some norms that require a corporation to block the transfer of applications to the countries on which the US government has imposed an embargo.

Comrades in the US who make these decisions, please, listen to me! When serious documents aimed at preventing the spread of xenophobia, racism and new forms of Nazism are being developed, you typically refer to freedom of speech. You express how important this is to you and that it has to be taken into account even when drafting anti- or counter-terrorism resolutions, holding conferences, etc. You attach primary importance to freedom of speech. What is the link between US exports and blocking Cuban publishers and news channels? What are you talking about? Do you really think we don’t understand why this is being done? Don’t we understand that this is the very censorship against which you fight so hard in other countries? You are doing this with your own hands.

Obviously, it doesn’t stand up to criticism and it runs counter to common sense. This is the pure exterritorial application of US law. In this case, it represents the arbitrary censorship of the global internet, which runs contrary to the relevant UN conventions and is totally unacceptable.

But is this really the only example of anti-democratic media regulation in the United States? Unfortunately, no. In September 2019, Cuban accounts were blocked by the social media giant Twitter. In June 2020, the internet platform deleted numerous Russian, Chinese and Turkish accounts under the far-fetched pretext that they were promoting political propaganda. In July, Google blocked, without notice, the official account of the Tsargrad TV channel on YouTube and the related Tsargrad News and Double-Headed Eagle channels. In addition, it banned their access to email, cloud and other services.

These examples make it obvious how the IT corporations Google, Facebook and Twitter are building up their participation in Washington’s campaign against objectionable media, under the political pressure of the US establishment. If an alternative opinion is brought to public attention, we see how Washington operates to stamp it out. Apparently, US officials see a threat to the information monopoly of mainstream news in world broadcasting.

We see the actions of these US IT corporations, including the recent Google move, as the crude suppression of freedom of speech and expression and of the principles of free dissemination of information and unrestricted access to it.

We urge the heads of these companies not to abandon democratic values for the sake of fleeting political considerations and revise their policy in favour of observing fundamental international legal standards. Either explain why you can’t or tell us how these decisions are made. Maybe you can describe the pressure that is exerted on your companies? How do you make decisions on blocking news channels?

We hope the relevant international agencies and human rights organisations will react appropriately to these actions and give an unbiased assessment of this situation.