Elon Musk said on Saturday, March 5, that some governments requested that his wholly-owned Starlink satellite broadband service should block news coming from Russia, but the tycoon has said they won’t do it “unless it’s at gunpoint.”
“Starlink has been told by some governments (not Ukraine) to block Russian news sources,” he said via Twitter on Saturday. “We will not do so unless at gunpoint,” adding, “Sorry to be a free speech absolutist.”
The billionaire executive, who runs electric vehicle company Tesla Inc. and rocket company SpaceX, did not say who had asked Starlink for censorship, however he specified that Ukraine was not among those countries.
One commenter wrote in response to Musk’s tweet that news coming out of Russia was “propaganda,” to which the tycoon responded, “All news sources are partially propaganda, some more than others.”
Musk has gone public with his support for Ukraine. The Starlink satellite internet service provided by his space company SpaceX is active in Ukraine and the company sent antennas and terminals this week to restore internet and communications.
Earlier in a tweet, the tycoon wrote that SpaceX had “reprioritized to cyber defense overcoming signal jamming” in that country.
Nations on both sides of the conflict are cracking down on the press and what they consider fake news.
The European Union this week stripped Russian state-owned RT and Sputnik of their licenses to prevent information they consider manipulated by Russia from reaching the West.
The Kremlin approved on Friday a law sanctioning false news circulating about the armed conflict, which is not considered an invasion by the Russian authorities, but a special military operation with the aim of demilitarizing Ukraine.
The Russian Foreign Minister referred to this at a conference on Thursday when he indicated that the Russian military has a “very strict order to use weapons only against military infrastructure.”
He further explicitly commented on Russian media censorship, saying, “Europe and the U.S. are trying to close down any media from Russia who cover what is happening in Ukraine, how the special military operation is developing and how Ukrainian army—especially Nazi battalions—are behaving towards their civilians,” he added according to Sky News