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ISPs in Crimea block 14 Ukraine news websites

05.07.2019, 17:00
In the occupied Crimea, ten Internet services providers block access to 14 Ukraine news websites and to two social networks. This is reported by the Crimean Human Rights Group (KPG) based on its monitoring results, which was held in May-June 2019. In particular, as of the end of June, these providers block the sites: Censor.net, Sled.net, UAinfo, Channel 5, Focus, Glavnoe, Depo, Ukrayinska Pravda, RBC, Ukrinform, Levyy Bereh, Glavkom, Dzerkalo nedeli, Strichka. Also the ISPs block access to social networking sites LinkedIn and Telegram, websites of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Jehovah's Witnesses and Hizb ut-Tahrir. The availability of the websites was monitored through networks of 10 different providers in 9 Crimean cities and villages: BelNet (Belogorsk), SevStar (Sevastopol), KST (Simferopol), Dream (Simferopol), Bosportelekom (Kerch), Yalta Net (Yalta), SkyLine (Krasnoperekopsky district), Sivash-no (Krasnoperekopsk), Orange-net (Bakhchisaray), Dzhanko-online (Dzhankoy). Also, human rights defenders report that 9 out of 10 providers blocked 112's channel. In 3 out of 10 providers, the site of the Crimean Solidarity NGO is unavailable. The users of Simferopol's "Dream" provider have problems of accessing up to 18 Ukrainian news resources that are available to all other proven providers. As human rights activists have noted, the situation with access to sites has changed significantly compared with the previous monitoring, which was conducted in March 2019. However, two Ukrainian sites that were previously blocked by all providers became available at new addresses after changing the domain name. The "Left Bank" and "Main" sites previously blocked only part of the ISPs, now they are not available in all 10. Other sites previously partially blocked are now available to all providers, except Simferopol "Dream". As a result of the new monitoring, five more sites were blocked, access to which is blocked by all 10 providers: Zerkalo Nedeli, Strichka, as well as sites of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Jehovah's Witnesses and Hizb ut-Tahrir. Access to them has not been investigated during previous monitoring. At the same time, only a few sites are blocked with reference to the requirements of Roskomnadzor. Mostly, there is no connection to these websites or "Error 403" appears on the screen. ISPs block even those sites that are not listed as banned ones in Russia. There are no grounds for limiting access to such resources even in the legislation of the Russian Federation. "As a result of such actions of the Russian authorities, the Crimean residents are denied access to the information of the large independent Ukrainian media, religious organizations and the site of the Crimean Tatar people's self-government bodies that operate freely in the rest of Ukraine.
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