8 providers in Crimea are completely blocking 30 Ukrainian information websites and 2 social networks in 7 settlements. The same providers are blocking the websites of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People, Hizb-ut-Tahrir, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine. In addition, at least 4 Ukrainian information websites are accessible only in part via these providers. This is verified by the findings of the Crimean Human Rights Group (CHRG) monitoring held in June 2020.
As at the end of June 2020, these providers block the access to at least 30 websites that are easily accessible on the Ukraine controlled territory: Cenzor.net, QHA, Radio Hayat, Sled.net, Informatsionnoye Soprotivleniye (Information Resistance), UAinfo, Channel 5, Blackseanews, Fokus, Glavcom, Glavnoye, Hromads’ke Radio, Center of Journalist Investigations, Left Bank, Podrobnosti, Strichka, ToneTo, Depo, Obozrevatel’, Ukrayinska Pravda, RBK Ukraine, Ukrinform, Zerkalo Nedeli, and social network websites: LinkedIn and Telegram, as well as the websites of the Mejlis of Crimean Tatar People, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Ministry of Integration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, and Hizb-ut-Tahrir.
APOSTROF website is blocked by 7 provides of 8. The website of CRIMEAN SOLIDARITY public association is not accessible via 4 providers of 8. The ATR website is blocked 2 providers. The ARC Prosecutor’s Office website is not accessible via 1 provider from the list.
Comparing to the CHRG monitoring held in March 2020, the number of blocked websites has increased. In March the Informatsionnoye Soprotivleniye (Information Resistance) website was blocked by 2 providers, and now it can’t be accessed via all providers checked. The Hromads’ke Radio website, after the domain name was changed, was accessible via all Crimean providers for several months. However, this website is again blocked by all providers at a new domain name. The websites of TV Channels: Podrobnosti and TSN as well as OBOZREDVATEL’ online outlet were also accessible in March via all providers, now the access to them is blocked completely.
Such actions of the Russian Federation are limiting substantially an access to the information of independent Ukrainian online media and FM radio stations for the residents of Crimea. Given the COVID-19 pandemic conditions, such Russia policy is just aggravating the situation, depriving the people, in fact, of access to the alternative information on the situation with the pandemic in Ukraine and in the world, that the life and health of the people may depend on.
We would remind that the Crimean Human Rights Group (CHRG) is appealing to the OSCE and other international organizations to intensify pressure on the RF to stop blocking the independent mass media in Crimea.
The website accessibility was checked by monitors using networks of 8 different providers in 7 Crimean settlements: BelNet (Belogorsk), SevStar (Sevastopol), Mechta (Simferopol), Bosportelecom (Kerch), YaltaNet (Yalta), SkyLine (Krasnoperekopsk District), GigaBite (Bakhchisarai), Kerchnet (Kerch).