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Media Regulator Unblocks Ekho Moskvy Website

Alexei Venediktov, Ekho Moskvy's editor-in-chief.

Access has been restored to the website of liberal-leaning radio station Ekho Moskvy, after it was earlier blacklisted by media regulators over its publication of a blog by opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

A spokesman from the regulator Roskomnadzor said that after Navalny's blog was deleted from the website on Thursday night, all restrictions on Ekho Moskvy's online pages were removed, Interfax reported Friday.

The Prosecutors General's Office on Thursday decreed that Ekho Moskvy's website should be blacklisted by the media regulator on the grounds that Navalny's blog contained signs of extremism. Several internet providers subsequently restricted access to the website.

Ekho Moskvy's editor-in-chief Alexei Venediktov on Friday released an online statement accusing providers of illegally shutting down the site and saying that the station would take them to court.

In the statement, posted on Ekho Moskvy's website, Venediktov also asked the media regulator and the Prosecutor General's Office to clarify exactly which material in Navalny's blog was "extremist."

Also on Thursday, a number of providers barred access to Navalny's LiveJournal blog, after Roskomnadzor said that its continued use was in violation of the politician's house arrest.

Ekho Moskvy's board of directors are due to meet Friday to approve the re-election of Venediktov as the radio station's editor-in-chief.

At the start of March, Ekho Moskvy employees voted for Venediktov to continue in his post at the radio station, though the move still requires the backing of the board, which is controlled by officials from Kremlin-friendly group Gazprom Media.

In February, Gazprom Media dismissed the station's CEO Yury Fedutinov, who had managed the radio since 1992, and replaced him with the wife of a Kremlin PR aide.

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