MOSCOW, November 5. /TASS/. The Google Company has resumed for the Federal News Agency the access to the Google News service, the agency said in a statement, published on its website on Sunday.
"The Google Inc. Company eight days after the blocking, has unblocked the Federal News Agency’s news in the public service Google News," the statement reads. "Besides, the service returns access to the Federal News Agency’s archive between 2014 and 2017."
The service stopped publishing the Federal News Agency’s materials at night to October 26. Late in the afternoon on November 4, the access was unblocked.
On Thursday, Chairman of the Russian State Duma (lower house of parliament) Committee for Information Technologies and Communications Leonid Levin said that he expected Google to provide full explanations of its move to block the Federal News Agency’s content.
According to him, "blocking Russian media outlets, affiliated with the Federal News Agency, from Google News cannot but cause serious concern." Levin stressed that "Russia’s legislation clearly defines ways to restrict the dissemination of illegal information through news aggregators." According to Levin, "the move taken by the US company constitutes a dangerous precedent, making it clear that a news aggregator may turn into a propaganda tool, which may lead to serious consequences, such as attempts to manipulate public opinion."
Russia’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said earlier that the ministry would request Google to explain the reasons for blocking the Federal News Agency’s content. "The Foreign Ministry has received your petition and will now consider it," she said. "We will request Google to explain its reasons for such moves, and we will also send notifications to international bodies. I believe, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media should know about it," Zakharova added.
The Russian diplomat pointed to the need to protect the interests of the Russian media outlets, "which are often violated by our wester counterparts, not only through private organizations but also through law enforcement agencies in various countries," including the United States.
She also recommended that the Federal News Agency make a formal request to Google’s Moscow office, as well as to the Russian institutions dealing with the protection of the Russian media’s interests.