On February 19, the Federal Service for the Supervision of Information Technology, Communications and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) blocked access to the Norwegian Barents Observer in Russia. The reason for the blocking was the publication of the story of a Swede with Sami roots Dan Eriksson, who for a long time could not accept his homosexuality. Roskomnadzor considered that a suicide attempt, about which Eriksson told, was too detailed. The blocking was confirmed by the The Barents Observer director and journalist Atle Stolesen.
"The blocking did not come as a surprise, we have expected it ever since we rejected the demands from Roskomnadzor. Our sources now say that the whole site, both the English and Russian versions, are closed in Russia. Some readers in Moscow tell us that it still is accessible.
The blocking confirms the repressive power of the Roskomnadzor. And it confirms Russian authorities’ determination to crack down on not only Russian media in Russia, but also foreign media based and operating from outside the country. It impossible for us to accept that this authority’s powers are to apply in Norway.What we need is more independent news and information across the borders, not less. In a situation with less contact and cooperation between our countries, it is of big importance that independent information about the situation is made available to audiences on all sides of the border. We have reported in both English and Russian since 2003 and will continue to do so. The ban is a blow to independent cross-border journalism, but it will not break us. On the contrary, it will only make us stronger."
The Barents Observer has been publishing in English and Russian since 2003. In the article, which caused the claims of the RKN, Eriksson talked about two unsuccessful suicide attempts. After that he became a volunteer in the organization Suicide zero ("No to suicide") and began to fight suicide in his country. Roskomnadzor has complaints about the Russian version of the article. On February 1, the ministry sent a request to remove the material. The director of the publication Atle Stolesen then told «7x7» that The Barents Observer is an independent media, follows high international standards of free press and will not comply with the repressive norms of the RKN.
On February 6, the court imposed a fine of 150 thousand rubles on "Echo of Moscow in Pskov", and on February 7 — a fine of 200 thousand rubles on "Pskov news feed" for the opinion of journalist Svetlana Prokopyeva about the explosion in the building of the UFSB in Arkhangelsk. Both fines were imposed on the results of the Roskomnadzor expertise.
Denis Strelkov, «7x7»