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RT crew blocked from French Afro-feminist festival, because ‘we do not like RT’s coverage’

An RT reporter was barred from the Nyansapo Afro-feminist festival in Paris, due to allegations of negative coverage of France’s population and even Islamophobia. The festival has been embroiled in controversy for restricting 80 percent of its venue for black women only.

RT’s correspondent Charlotte Dubenskij was on Friday barred from attending the festival along with her crew.

“Hugely disappointed to be barred from Nyansapo because I work for RT [and] had been hoping to find out more about the festival and its aims,” Dubenskij wrote on Twitter.

The Nyansapo Festival, which describes itself as “militant Afro-feminist,” is an annual event that this year is being held July 28 to 30 at the La Générale art-squat in Paris. The festival is divided into three areas: one for black women and afab (assigned female at birth), which it says represents 80 percent, one for black people of any gender, and finally a space open to all races and genders. Activities at the festival include readings, discussions and exhibits on such topics such as post-colonial feminist movements.

Nyansapo has recently attracted controversy and mixed media coverage after Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo publicly called for the festival to be banned, also warning that she could “prosecute the organizers for discrimination.” Hidalgo’s tough stance was based on assumption the space was “prohibited to white people,” something the organizers have denied. It also attracted criticism from French anti-racist groups, including SOS Racisme, which described the event as “a mistake, even an abomination.”

The mayor later said a “solution” has been found after meeting with MWASI, the group organizing the event, which clarified to her that no public areas would be restricted and the “black women only” events are to be held in private property.

However, the promise of open-to-all policy apparently did not apply to RT, with the festival security not only barring the crew from entering, but also discouraging it from filming the people outside.
As grounds for not letting RT film the festival and broadcast the opinions of its guests, Dubenskij was presented with dubious claims of the channel’s coverage being “Islamophobic” and portraying the French black population negatively. A woman at the entrance told Dubenskij in English that “we do not like RT coverage.”

This is not the first time RT has been banned from a venue in France because of perceived negative coverage. On April 23, during the first round of the presidential election, RT was not allowed into the campaign headquarters of future President Emmanuel Macron, despite earlier being promised accreditation by his team.

READ MORE: Liberté d'expression? RT crew blocked from Macron HQ despite press requests