A Russian court on Tuesday fined popular messaging apps, Telegram and Viber for refusing to delete what it has come to refer to as “illegal content about the on going war”.
Interfax News Agency stated that while Dubai-based Telegram which is owned by two Russian brothers (Pavel and Nikolai Durov) was instructed to pay 4 million roubles ($47,525), the Japanese company behind Viber was ordered to dish out 1 million roubles.
It was learnt that Telegram which is enormously popular in Russia had been asked earlier to delete 32 channels which it accused of spreading lies and unfounded claims about Russia’s “special military operation” in Ukraine.
It is no longer news that the Vladimir Putin’s administration has refused wide and unfiltered coverage of the Russian invasion of Ukraine since last year. Little wonder the country has frequently slammed fines on uncooperative media houses and content providers on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook and even Google. Earlier in the month, WhatzApp got a taste of Russia’s anger when it was also ordered to pay a fine.
In an unrelated case, Wikipedia on Tuesday was also given a bill of 1.5 million roubles in a Moscow’s court. The company was accused by the Russian authorities of refusing to bring down a video titled “trainsurfing”.
Trainsurfing according to Interfax is the practice of getting free rides which are considered illegal.