BBC Russian service warned its website could be blocked over provocative publication - newspaper

The federal mass media oversight service Roskomnadzor has sent a letter to the Russian service of the BBC saying that public activist Artyom Loskutov's interview, posted on its website on July 31, where Loskutov urges Russian citizens to hold an unauthorized march for Siberia's federalization, must be removed from the website, the daily Izvestia reported on Tuesday .

The federal mass media oversight service Roskomnadzor has sent a letter to the Russian service of the BBC saying that public activist Artyom Loskutov's interview, posted on its website on July 31, where Loskutov urges Russian citizens to hold an unauthorized march for Siberia's federalization, must be removed from the website, the daily Izvestia reported on Tuesday .

"A Roskomnadzor official sent a letter to the management of the Russian service of the BBC saying that the interview must be removed from the website as it contains calls for mass disturbances, for extremist action and for organizing illegal massive public events," the newspaper said.

An Izvestia source close to Roskomnadzor said publications like this may lead to the website's immediate shutdown.

"If we opt for this measure the website of the BBC Russian service in Russia may be fully blocked. In fact, we must do this because the Prosecutor General's Office instructed Roskomnadzor to block access to websites and resources that post material of this kind," the source said.

Roskomnadzor is receiving letters from citizens who are angered by the authorities' passive position on calls inciting disturbances, he also said. Citizens' complaints, referred to the Prosecutor General' Office, also say that the BBC enjoys a privileged status compared to Russian websites, he said.

A fresh warning was issued to the Russian service of the BBC on August 3 in connection with these demands, the source said.

Roskomnadzor's deputy head Maxim Ksyondzov has confirmed to Izvestia that the Russian service of the BBC has been warned, but did not elaborate.

Representatives of the Russian Service of the BBC and its office in Britain were unavailable for comment.

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