Apple bows to Russian govt order, removes ‘What Happened’ news podcast

The show, ‘What Happened’, is produced by independent media outlet Meduza and offers an in-depth analysis of pressing issues in Russian society.

By: HT TECH
| Updated on: Aug 06 2023, 11:49 IST
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Apple
Apple's decision to remove the podcast is particularly notable because it took place amidst a larger backdrop of mounting tension in the country. (AFP)
Apple
Apple's decision to remove the podcast is particularly notable because it took place amidst a larger backdrop of mounting tension in the country. (AFP)

Amidst the escalating war between Russia and Ukraine, tech giant Apple has removed a prominent Russian news podcast from its Apple Podcasts streaming platform. The show, titled ‘What Happened', is produced by independent media outlet Meduza and offered an in-depth analysis of pressing issues in Russian society.

According to Meduza, the move came after Russian state censorship authority, Roskomnadzor, submitted a complaint to Apple earlier this summer, alleging that Meduza's podcast violated Russian law. The notice from Apple did not specify the reasons for the removal of the podcast.

What is the ‘What Happened' podcast?

Meduza's daily news program, ‘What Happened,' is a valuable source of information for listeners both in Russia and abroad. Hosted by Vladislav Gorin, the podcast features discussions with leading experts, delving into topics that remained relevant long after they initially made headlines.

This incident follows a pattern of increased censorship by Roskomnadzor since Russia's invasion of Ukraine last year. The regulatory body has been pressuring tech companies to remove content it deems politically sensitive or harmful to Russian interests. Apple had already faced a fine by a Russian court for refusing to remove certain content.

Apple's decision to remove the podcast is particularly notable because it took place amidst a larger backdrop of rising tensions.

According to a report by newsinfrance.com, in March 2022, Apple suspended sales in Russia in response to the invasion of Ukraine, although it has not yet announced a complete exit from the Russian market.

As per the report by The Verge, the podcast ‘What Happened' is still accessible on other platforms, including Spotify, Google Podcasts, YouTube, and Meduza's dedicated app for iOS and Android. This provides listeners with alternative avenues to access the podcast and its insights.

The removal of "What Happened" from Apple Podcasts raises concerns about the state of media freedom and censorship in Russia, as well as the role of international tech companies in navigating these complex issues.

With the war in Ukraine showing signs of increasing, rather than decreasing, such problems for tech majors are likely to rise even more, with the government looking to dictate the way the news is disseminated to the public.

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First Published Date: 06 Aug, 11:49 IST
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