'Sorry to be a free speech absolutist': Elon Musk won't block Russian news sources from Starlink

Elon Musk
(Image credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for TIME)

SpaceX founder Elon Musk said Saturday that he would not ban Russian news sources from his Starlink satellite network, Business Insider reported.

"Starlink has been told by some governments (not Ukraine) to block Russian news sources. We will not do so unless at gunpoint," Musk wrote on Twitter. "Sorry to be a free speech absolutist," he added.

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Digital communications have become a major battleground in the war between Russia and Ukraine. BBC, CNN, and Bloomberg News have all curtailed their journalistic operations in Russia after President Vladimir Putin signed a law that made spreading "fake" news about the war punishable by 15 years in prison.

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The Russian government blocked Facebook after the social network fact checked reports from Russian state media and has also restricted access to BBC and Voice of America, according to Reuters. Google has suspended all ad sales in Russia.

Despite his refusal to prevent Russian propaganda from being carried on his satellites, Musk has also entered the communications fray on the side of Ukraine. Space.com reports that Musk "sent Starlink terminals to Ukraine at the request of a government official after internet service was disrupted across the country by the Russian invasion."

Musk said Friday that Russian forces were attempting to jam these terminals but that a new software update had resolved the problem.

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Also on Friday, Musk tweeted "Hold Strong Ukraine," along with several Ukrainian flag emojis, and expressed his "sympathies to the great people of Russia, who do not want this."

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