Russia bans distribution of dozens of EU news outlets in retaliatory step

  • World
  • Tuesday, 25 Jun 2024

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it was banning access inside Russia to the broadcasts of dozens of European Union media outlets in what it said was retaliation for a similar EU ban on several Russian media outlets.

The European Union said in May it was suspending the distribution of what it described as four "Kremlin-linked propaganda networks," stripping them of their broadcasting rights in the bloc.

It said at the time that the ban applied to Voice of Europe, to the RIA news agency and to the Izvestia and Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspapers.

The Russian Foreign Ministry hit back on Tuesday, releasing a list of 81 media outlets from 25 EU member states, as well as pan-European outlets, whose broadcasts it said would no longer be available on Russian territory.

It accused the outlets of "systematically distributing inaccurate information" about what Russia calls its special military operation in Ukraine.

France's Agence France-Presse news agency, Austria's ORF state TV company, Ireland's RTE broadcaster, and Spain's EFE news agency were among the outlets affected by the Russian move along with many other national broadcasters, newspapers, and Politico.

"The Russian Federation has repeatedly warned at various levels that politically motivated harassment of domestic journalists and unjustified bans on Russian media in the EU will not go unanswered," the foreign ministry said in a statement.

"In spite of this, Brussels and the capitals of the bloc's countries preferred to follow the path of escalation, forcing Moscow to adopt mirror and proportional countermeasures."

It said it would review its own ban if the EU lifted its restrictions on RIA, Izvestia and the Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspaper, all of which it described as Russian media outlets.

Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the State Duma lower house of parliament, said in May that the EU move had shown that the West refused to accept any alternative point of view and was destroying freedom of speech.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Andrew Osborn; Editing by Mark Trevelyan)

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