Swedish Radio website blocked in Russia

1:39 min

Some of Russia's inhabitants have been blocked from accessing Swedish Radio's website since November, apparently because of an article published years ago, that Russian authorities have recently interpreted as having broken the law.

Radio Sweden's Russian department published an article on its website, in 2010, about how overdosing on over-the-counter painkillers, like Alvedon, had become the most common method for young Swedish girls to attempt suicide. The article was based on one by the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, and Swedish authorities have since moved to limit access to these painkillers.

But Russia has interpreted Radio Sweden's article as having been propaganda promoting suicide, forbidden under Russian law, and in a letter to Sveriges Radio's listener services, Russia's Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications, ROSKOMNADZOR, wrote threatening to block access to Swedish Radio's website unless the article was removed. It wasn't.

Thomas Rotermund, the head of security at Swedish Radio, told Radio Sweden's Russian department that it does not appear as though the site has been widely blocked in Russia. He said this is based on "contacts with people in Russia and our own investigation that we did around the New Year, of several internet service providers in the country." He added that the SR legal department will write the Russian authority a letter clarifying Swedish Radio's view of article.

Radio Sweden's Russian department is set to be shut down this spring as part of an internal reorganisation.