Infringement of Internet Freedom in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. Overview for April 14 — May 15

We regularly monitor incidents and violations of Internet freedom in Ukraine, Russia, and Belarus. The results of the monitoring with description are available on the MAP OF VIOLATIONS

Ukraine

Try in court for Facebook posts? A heated discussion unfolded in Ukraine about convicting a blogger for deliberate dissemination of communist propaganda on Facebook for a year. The court cites the acting law on decommunization, but the decision still caused negative reaction from some of the human rights activists. We have studied WHY.

We would like to remind what is considered propaganda of the communist regime in Ukraine both offline and online:

Is Amnesty International Ukraine not against allowing Soviet symbols? As a reaction to the clashes between demonstration participants on May 9, Amnesty International Ukraine released a statement where it accused Ukrainian authorities of limiting freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. DETAILS

Facebook sometimes blocks content by mistake. Recently, Facebook blocked the page of Tyzhden.ua edition for ‘hate speech’ in the comments to Yuriy Makarov’s column. Users also report that people were banned for one week for the comments they had left under Makarov’s post. MORE INFORMATION HERE

Have the working conditions for journalists improved? — Rating. Ukraine and Belarus improved their results in the freedom index Reporters Without Borders. Russia has no changes. We analyzed the incidents of repressions that were recorded by the Reporters.

Conclusion on Ukraine:

The information war with Russia is still a source of concern. In 2016, the authorities again proved powerless to protect media outlets from attacks such as journalist Pavel Sheremet’s murder, the publication of the personal data of thousands of journalists accused of “treason,” and an arson attack on Inter TV’s headquarters. In the lawless separatist-controlled areas in the east, there are still no critical journalists or foreign observers. READ MORE

The SSU in the spotlight again for searches in Dragon Capital. Law enforcement officers claimed that they have “caught the management of eight companies on selling and using prohibited spyware made in Russia.” MORE HERE

Arrest of FS.life owner. The owner of FS.life (former FS.TO) website Andriy Komlychenko was put under house arrest. Cyber police issued a statement earlier that the website was suspended for not paying taxes. The investigation has been going on for over a year. WHAT CHANGED?

The Internet comes to villages. More than half of the people who live in villages are already using the Internet. Ukraine has 65% of Internet penetration. HOW IS THE DYNAMICS CHANGING?

Crimea

Russia is fighting against Hizb ut-Tahrir not only on its own, but also on occupied territory. In Crimea, Crimean Tatars were detained for administering a Hizb ut-Tahrir page on Facebook. DETAILS

Are 9 months of blocking over? Krym.Realii is partially back to their users in Crimea. Some Crimean operators are no longer restricting access to the website. MORE HERE

Russia

Anonymity is canceled. Putin cancels anonymity on the Internet under the pretext of ‘fighting lawlessness’, and demands ‘canonical’ behavior from users online — taking into account the ‘spiritual and moral values’ of the Russian society. HOW WILL THIS WORK?

Don’t want to cooperate? We will block you! Under ‘Yarovaya laws’, messengers that refuse to collect information about users and submit to the Russian secret services are blocked in Russia. This happened to Line and Blackberry, and the experts do not discount the possibility that that Facebook and Telegram will be blocked. WHY?

Those who disagree are attacked with green dye. Almost at the same time, in Russia people covered with green dye a famous blogger Ilya Varlamov and opposition politician Alexei Navalny. DETAILS

Hackers attacked Macron. He won anyway. Before the elections in France, the servers of Emmanuel Macron’s campaign were attacked by hackers connected to Russian military intelligence. READ MORE

How much with implementing ‘Yarovaya laws’ cost? Short answer — 4.5 trillion roubles (or 75.96 bln USD), according to the state authorities. EXPLANATION

How a Kyiv band Gryby raises social issues in Russia that are relevant for Russian citizens, criticizing Russian authorities through music: HERE

The previous report about incidents and violations of Internet freedom is available here.

The overview has been written by NGO “Internews Ukraine” as part of implementing the project Internet Freedom in Ukraine: Supporting the Principles of Freedom of Speech and Security in the Time of Conflict”.

 

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