Moscow responds to latest EU ban on Russian media

4 weeks ago 22

Brussels talks about free speech but doesn’t uphold it, the chairman of Russia’s lower house of parliament has said

Russia’s State Duma chairman has accused the EU of censoring alternative opinions and curtailing freedom of speech, with the goal of deceiving citizens. 

Vyacheslav Vlodin was commenting on Brussels’ latest ban on Russian media outlets, which has sparked a warning of countermeasures from the Foreign Ministry in Moscow.

On Friday, the European Council announced it was suspending the broadcasting activities of four additional media organizations, claiming that they “spread and support” Russian propaganda. 

The blacklist includes RIA Novosti news agency, newspapers Izvestia and Rossiyskaya Gazeta, and the Czech-based portal Voice of Europe. 

Writing on Telegram on Saturday, Volodin described the move as showing the EU’s desire “to close access to objective and reliable information” for residents of member states.

According to the lawmaker, “the policy of double standards has become an integral part of European structures” as they only  “talk about freedom of speech, but do not tolerate it in reality”.

Officials in Brussels have no arguments to convince EU citizens that they are right and as soon as they see any problems, they just block “any alternative point of view, destroy freedom of speech, and violate the right to freely disseminate and receive information,” Volodin stressed.

“In fact, they introduce censorship with the only purpose – to deceive their citizens and stay in power,” he argued. 

The Russian Foreign Ministry, commenting on Brussels’ move, noted that Moscow has repeatedly warned the EU that “repressive measures” against Russian media will not go unanswered. 

“Ignoring these warnings forces us to take countermeasures, which will follow inevitably,” the ministry’s spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova said on Friday. 

According to the diplomat, Brussel’s decision is proof “of the neglect by the EU and its member states for their international obligations in the field of ensuring media pluralism and another example of the degeneration of democratic societies” in the West. 

Since the Ukraine conflict escalated into open hostilities in February 2022, the EU has barred several Russia-associated media outlets from engaging with audiences in member states. Even hosting content made by the targeted organizations is illegal in the bloc. 

Moscow has also taken a harsh stance on Western media. Citing anti-Russian sentiment, misinformation and censorship, the national media regulator has barred access to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and the websites of the BBC, Deutsche Welle, along with other media outlets.

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