Paypal, one of the largest online payment processors, said on Wednesday it won´t accept payment from the SMM or the FM or other media entities involved in the conflict in eastern Ukraine because of the risks of violating privacy laws.
PayPal is one of a handful of large online payment providers that allow payments to be made via their website or through their mobile apps.
Paypal does not accept payments for the media in Ukraine.
“Paypal will not accept payment for media coverage on the conflict,” the company said in a statement.
The decision came a day after a U.S. news organization called SMM and FM an extension of the government and was the first time that PayPal had ruled out taking money from the organizations.
“There are a number of concerns that we had raised with PayPal and PayPal has indicated that it doesn´t want to take money,” said Ian Sams, a spokesperson for SMM.
“We will be contacting PayPal about this issue.”
In a separate statement, Paypal said it has a zero-tolerance policy against money laundering and that it “will not be accepting payment from organizations involved in any form of illegal activities.”
“We will not be taking payment for any of the content that is presented on our platform,” the statement said.
“If the media organization is involved in such a criminal activity, it may face sanctions under U.N. sanctions.”
The SMM is a Moscow-based group that tracks violence in Ukraine and has been providing information on the situation there for several years.
It is a major outlet for Ukrainians on the ground who say the government of President Petro Poroshenko is guilty of war crimes.
Payment to the SMYM was made through PayPal, according to Sams.
“Our team has done extensive research and has spoken to many people, including Ukrainian authorities,” he said.
Payments were made through a PayPal account.
“At no point have we ever accepted money through PayPal.
This is a very serious violation of privacy,” Sams said.
The SMYI Media Monitoring Center, which monitors violence in the eastern Ukraine, also announced its decision not to accept payment.
“I think it is completely inappropriate,” said Ivan Semyonov, head of the center.
“It is unacceptable that they can not even take payments from us.”