BBC to make BBC News available in Russia

The BBC says  it will continue its efforts to ensure that  people in Russia have access to its news output following reports that  its Russian Service website had been blocked in the country.

German public broadcaster Deutsche Welle on  Friday,  reported that the BBC site was not working within Russia.

However, BBC Russia said the domain had not been added to the country’s registry of banned sites.

Earlier, the Kremlin had accused the corporation of undermining Russian stability.

A BBC spokesman said: “Access to accurate, independent information is a fundamental human right which should not be denied to the people of Russia, millions of whom rely on BBC News every week.’’

The spokesman went on to say that, “we will continue our efforts to make BBC News available in Russia, and across the rest of the world.’’

The BBC News Technology Twitter account shared a link to an article reminding viewers that its Ukrainian and Russian language services were available on the dark web.

The broadcaster had made its international news website available through the Tor network, privacy-focused software used to access the dark web, in a bid to thwart censorship attempts.

The BBC had seen an increase in traffic to its Russian language news website since the invasion of Ukraine began.

It said the site’s audience rose to a record of 10.7 million people in the last week more than triple its year-to-date weekly average.

Visitors to the English language in Russia were up 252 per cent to 423,000 last week.

UK watchdog Ofcom had opened 27 investigations into the “due impartiality’’ of programmes broadcast on the Kremlin-backed RT news channel, formerly known as Russia Today.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Thursday, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said RT should lose its licence and “never again’’ be able to broadcast “poisonous propaganda’’.

However, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss warned on Monday that the BBC risked being banned in Russia if RT was shut down in the UK.

Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova had since accused the BBC of playing “a determined role in undermining the Russian stability and security’’.

She also condemned the banning of Russian media RT and Sputnik globally; claiming the world was being deprived of Russia’s point of view and Western media was only giving one side.

CNN had reported that the U.S. arm of RT would be effectively shutting down while European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen announced last weekend  that the channel would be banned in the EU. (dpa/NAN)