Spotify interrumpe sus servicios en Rusia / Spotify will suspend its services in Russia in light of free speech crackdown

Nueva York.- La plataforma de música Spotify anunció este viernes que interrumpirá la totalidad de sus servicios en Rusia porque las recientes leyes que restringen la libertad de los medios de comunicación podrían poner en peligro tanto a sus empleados como a sus oyentes.

En un comunicado de prensa, la empresa sueca, que además de música ofrece todo un abanico de podcasts con contenido político, apuntó que espera completar la suspensión de todos sus servicios para finales de abril.

El anuncio de la suspensión total se produce después de que Spotify notificara del cierre de su oficina de Rusia a principios de mes y días más tarde anulara su servicio de pago, ofreciendo solo el gratuito.

«Spotify sigue pensando que es de vital importancia intentar que nuestros servicios en Rusia sigan operativos para ofrecer noticias independientes e información en la región», comienza el comunicado.

«Desafortunadamente, la legislación que se ha aprobado recientemente que restringe el acceso a la información, elimina la libertad de expresión y penaliza cierto tipo de noticias pone en riesgo la seguridad de los trabajadores de Spotify y posiblemente la de nuestros oyentes», agrega el texto.

Otras grandes compañías tecnológicas, entre ellas Google y Apple, han dejado de ofrecer ciertos servicios en Rusia tras la invasión a Ucrania, además de varios bancos e icónicas empresas estadounidenses como McDonald’s y Starbucks.

Spotify will suspend its services in Russia in light of free speech crackdown

Spotify will discontinue access to its streaming services in Russia in light of the country’s dramatic new restrictions on free speech.

In early March, the Russian parliament enacted a new law that criminalizes sharing what the government deems to be “false information” about Russia’s operations in Ukraine. The new restrictions also punish any speech that undermines the military, including describing the war in Ukraine using the word “war.”

Western news outlets including CNN, ABC and the BBC pulled their broadcasts and operations within Russia in response to the law, which can carry up to a 15-year prison sentence. While Spotify is primarily a music streaming platform, the company is increasingly investing in podcasts that incorporate politics and current events — a direction that’s already entangled it in a number of controversies.

“Spotify has continued to believe that it’s critically important to try and keep our service operational in Russia to provide trusted, independent news and information in the region,” a Spotify spokesperson told TechCrunch. “Unfortunately, recently enacted legislation further restricting access to information, eliminating free expression and criminalizing certain types of news puts the safety of Spotify’s employees and possibly even our listeners at risk.”

After considering different paths, Spotify opted to “fully suspend” its service in Russia, a process that will be complete by early April after the company wraps up logistics related to the move. Spotify previously suspended premium subscriptions in Russia, though the free version of the app remained available.

As most of the world looks on in horror, the Kremlin continues to tighten its grip on the flow of information, falsely spinning its actions over the last month as a liberation effort rather than a bloody war of choice claiming civilian lives. That push and its accompanying legal crackdown pose serious risks for anyone within the country sharing a perspective on the invasion that is at odds with the Russian government. Taylor Hatmaker