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Russia Blocks 2 Independent Media Sites Over War Coverage

Stanislav Krasilnikov / TASS

Russia has blocked an independent TV channel and a liberal radio station for spreading "deliberately false information" about Moscow's invasion of Ukraine, Russian news agencies reported Tuesday.

The move comes six days after Russian troops attacked its Western-backed neighbour with violence escalating in the capital Kyiv and the eastern city of Kharkiv. 

Russia's prosecutor general ordered the country's media watchdog to "restrict access" to the Dozhd TV channel and Ekho Moskvy radio.

It said the ban comes over the "purposeful and systematic" posting of "information calling for extremist activity, violence" and "deliberately false information about the actions of Russian military personnel" in Ukraine. 

Both websites were unavailable in Russia shortly after the announcement, according to AFP journalists. 

The chief editor of Ekho Moskvy, Alexei Venediktov, said on Telegram the radio station was taken off air. 

The past year has seen an unprecedented crackdown on independent and critical voices in Russia. 

Dozens of media workers and independent outlets  including Dozhd  have been designated "foreign agents" by authorities.

A term with Soviet-era undertones, the status obliges those slapped with the label to disclose sources of funding and label publications  including social media posts  with a tag or face fines.

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