Roskomnadzor attempts to explain the reasons for blocking Fergana

Fergana News Agency has received a reply to its enquiry to the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) about the reasons for access to the site being blocked on Russian territory. As is stated in Roskomnadzor’s letter, the website has been added to the government’s “United Register of domain names identifying sites containing information banned from distribution within the Russian Federation”, in accordance with article 15.1 of the Federal Law on Information, Information Technologies and Information Protection, No. 149-FZ, which also prohibits the distribution of information on methods of committing suicide.

The reply that Fergana received from Roskomnadzor, however, does not provide any information about specific items whose publication led to access to the whole of the agency’s site being blocked.

Fergana’s General Director Daniil Kislov had the following to say: “The precise reasons for the blocking of the whole of our site on 10 October are still unknown to us, since we had already removed two news items with which Roskomnadzor had taken issue. This answer from Roskomnadzor sets out the reasons in a rather abstract and general way. It should be pointed out that neither our publication’s editorial team, nor the limited company News Agency received any kind of warning through our internet hosting provider, or any demand for the removal of a particular piece of information. We are now going to seek advice from lawyers as to what further steps we should take.”

More on the subject (in Russian):

Access to the Fergana news site on Russian territory was first restricted on 1 October this year. Thanks to the group Roskomsvoboda, which keeps tabs on the activity of Roskomnadzor, Fergana was able to find out exactly which pages of the site were no longer accessible. These pages contained news about suicides; they were then removed and Roskomnadzor informed of their removal. Nevertheless, on 10 October service providers were ordered to close access to the whole Fergana website, and to date the news agency’s site remains blocked throughout the territory of the Russian Federation.