Disinfo: Twitter sanctions against Russian media is a censorship act


Twitter has removed the account of the Russian agency RIA Novosti from its search results. Previously, Twitter blocked RT and Sputnik’s profiles in the same way. Such restrictions from Twitter correspond to an act of media censorship, which is directly prohibited by the Constitution of Russia. Twitter’s management announced that it would label media accounts that are controlled by the authorities, however, this does not apply to all such media. There is no such label on the Voice of America or Radio Liberty, while the personal account of Margarita Simonyan is labelled “State edition”.


A recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that the West imposes censorship and that Russia protects freedom of speech and the press. This is consistent with the broad pro-Kremlin narrative that seeks to discredit liberal democratic societies by claiming that the latter are totalitarian systems ruled by “globalist elites” and “shadow governments” which persecute anyone who expresses views that dissent from dominant “politically correct” liberal-globalist thinking.

Twitter announced in August that it will start labelling State-affiliated media organisations "where the state exercises control over editorial content through financial resources, political pressure or control over production and distribution". Editors and senior staff will also have their accounts labelled. However, publicly funded news organisations with editorial independence will not be labelled, including the BBC and the US network NPR.

Freedom of the press in the United States is legally protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. There are media in the US that are funded by the government, but they are guaranteed from any interference.

The European Union as a whole is committed to respecting the freedom and pluralism of the media as well as the right to freedom of expression - which includes the right to receive and impart information without interference by public authority. This commitment is enshrined in Article 11 of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights.

According to Reporters Without BordersRussia ranks 149th out of 180 countries, in the 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

See more similar disinfo narratives alleging that Western governments impose censorship and silence dissidents and that journalism is free in Russia.


  • Reported in: Issue 214
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 28/09/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: EU, Russia, US
  • Keywords: Twitter, Freedom of speech


Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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