As Russian troops advanced on Ukrainian territory, the military actions left most of the country without an Internet connection. Musk made sure that Ukraine got coverage and even issued “warnings” on how to use the Starlink connection to avoid detection or otherwise draw unnecessary attention to populated areas.
Since then, also on Twitter, Musk has made it clear where he stands: he is against the war in Ukraine but, at the same time, he feels sorry for the Russian people, because they did not want or ask for a war. But he won’t be blocking Russian media from Starlink, like other platforms have already done. Not unless somebody put a gun to his head.
“Starlink has been told by some governments (not Ukraine) to block Russian news sources. We will not do so unless at gunpoint,” Musk writes on Twitter. “Sorry to be a free speech absolutist.”
To a reader telling him that Russian media is war propaganda at this time, one that aims to paint a completely different picture of what is happening on the ground in Ukraine, Musk responded with “all news sources are partially propaganda, some more than others.” Not that his stance on the media is any secret.
Pressure to block Russian media comes after several big names have already done so: RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik, both state-owned media networks, have been banned on Facebook and Instagram, as well as on TikTok, and demonetized on YouTube. Obviously, Musk believes that both sides of the narrative should be broadcast without censorship or any other type of intervention.
Starlink has been told by some governments (not Ukraine) to block Russian news sources. We will not do so unless at gunpoint.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 5, 2022
Sorry to be a free speech absolutist.
All news sources are partially propaganda, some more than others— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 5, 2022
Important warning: Starlink is the only non-Russian communications system still working in some parts of Ukraine, so probability of being targeted is high. Please use with caution.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 3, 2022
And also my sympathies to the great people of Russia, who do not want this— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 5, 2022