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US slams 'unprecedented' Russia media censorship

Published on Mar 15, 2014 6:17 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The United States expressed concern on Friday over Russia's "unprecedented" media censorship, including shuttering opposition news websites amid the East-West standoff over Ukraine, and called for the Kremlin to respect press freedom.

State Department deputy spokeswoman Marie Harf cited this month's ouster of the chief editor of, one of Russia's most popular news websites, after a state watchdog criticized its interviews with Ukrainian ultra-nationalists.

"The United States is deeply troubled by the rapidly shrinking space for independent and free media in Russia," said Ms Harf.

"In the last year, the Russian government has passed laws imposing unprecedented censorship and restrictions on media and online publications." Three major opposition websites have also been blocked, as has the popular blog of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny.

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