Russia: 81 EU media outlets blocked from broadcasting inside the country

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In response to the EU sanctions against Russian media that were approved in June 2024, Russia’s Foreign Ministry has announced that it is banning 81 media outlets from European Union countries from broadcasting in Russia. The International and the European Federations of Journalists (IFJ-EFJ) strongly condemn these restrictions, which prevent Russian citizens from freely accessing information from EU media outlets, thereby breaching the public’s right to know.


On 25 June, Russia’s Foreign Ministry announced its decision to block access to prominent EU media outlets across Russia and released a list of 81 publications, including  leading EU and pan-European media from over 20 countries. The ban applies to  major outlets such as Der Spiegel (Germany), Agence France Presse, Le Monde (France), El Mundo, El País (Spain), public broadcaster RAI (Italy), Politico Europe and EUobserver.


Earlier this year, EU authorities announced a ban on several Russian state media outlets, which they described as “Kremlin-linked propaganda networks”, such as Voice of Europe, the RIA news agency and Izvestia and Rossiyskaya Gazeta newspapers. The EU sanctions were approved by the EU Council on 24 June.


“Counter-restrictions are being introduced on accessing, from Russian territory, broadcasting resources of media outlets from EU member states,” read the Foreign Ministry’s statement. The sanctions imposed by Russia could be “revised” if the EU sanctions were to be lifted, according to the Ministry.


Since the start of the full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the Russian authorities have intensified their crackdown on media and journalists, banning certain foreign correspondents and arresting local journalists who spoke out against Russia’s war on Ukraine.


“It’s all a war of declarations and posturing,” said Andrei Jvirblis, International Secretary of the Journalists’ and Media Workers’ Union (JMWU), the EFJ-IFJ affiliate in Russia. “European sanctions against four Russian media make no sense. One of the targeted newspapers, pure state propaganda, is hardly read by anyone. Nor do Russian reprisals make any sense: all 81 European media outlets targeted remain accessible in Russia, with the use of a simple VPN. This mockery of reciprocal sanctions is harmful, because it normalizes the authorities’ control over the media. No surprise from the Kremlin. It’s more surprising coming from the European Commission”.


The IFJ and the EFJ urge the Russian authorities to allow EU media outlets to broadcast freely within its territory and to stop using media freedom as a form of diplomatic pressure at the expense of the citizens’ right to access information.


“The Russians’ retaliatory move is a serious and unfair attack against media freedom. We call on the Russian authorities to protect the citizens’ right to access information from every part of Europe as press freedom can no longer be the collateral victim of this conflict,” said the IFJ and EFJ in a joint statement.





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