‘Only at gunpoint’: Starlink won’t block Russian news sources, says Elon Musk

Elon Musk has been a self-proclaimed “free speech absolutist” and has defended his position of keeping Russian media on his satellite internet service.

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The owner and chairman of aerospace firm SpaceX , tycoon Elon Musk , has said his company’s Starlink satellite broadband service  will not block Russian media “unless it’s at gunpoint.”

“Some governments (not Ukraine ) have told Starlink to block Russian news sources. We won’t unless we do it at gunpoint,” the tech entrepreneur tweeted.

“I regret being an absolutist of freedom of expression,” he said.

Widespread lockdowns

Russia’s state-controlled media has come under fire as the West and its allies seek to crack down on false or misleading reporting about Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine .

This week, the European Union banned the Russian state-funded RT television network and Sputnik agency from broadcasting in the 27-nation bloc, while US-based social media giants, including Twitter and Facebook’s parent Meta have taken steps to block the activity of these Russian government-linked outlets.

Starlink went live in Ukraine last week after Kiev’s digital minister, Mykhailo Fedorov, urged Musk to provide stations to the country days after it was invaded by neighboring Russia and sought to isolate Ukraine .

The service operates a constellation of more than 2,000 satellites that aim to provide Internet access around the globe.

The web monitoring group NetBlocks has reported a series of significant internet service outages in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began.

“Some Starlink terminals near conflict areas were stuck for several hours at a time,” Musk said in another tweet on Saturday.

Since its army invaded on February 24, Russia has attacked several Ukrainian cities, with authorities reporting hundreds of civilians have been killed. (AFP)