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25 Dec, 2017 08:55

US crackdown on Russian media negates rules of journalism & freedom of speech – Lavrov to RT

The US crackdown on RT and other Russian media outlets was a major blow for freedom of speech and a denial of the rules of journalism, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an exclusive interview.

Speaking to RT on Monday, the top diplomat said the news channel has been among one of those most strongly affected by the recent US crackdown, “which fully contravenes all norms and principles of journalism, freedom of speech and expression.”

FOLLOW LIVE UPDATES: RT sits down with FM Lavrov to review global challenges of 2017

While pressuring Russian media, Washington is at the same time advocating international legislation that would ensure journalists’ rights and freedoms, Lavrov noted. He said that Moscow had taken a number of reciprocal measures against foreign-funded media outlets, but that none of these actions had been extreme. The Russia diplomat mentioned Ukraine, which has banned “all Russian media including channels for children.”

Earlier this year, the US Justice Department forced RT America to register as a “foreign agent” under the 1938 FARA law, which has rarely been used against media outlets. Later, US lawmakers waived RT’s accreditation, effectively banning it from reporting from Congress.

In response, Russia adopted legislation introducing “foreign agent” status for a number of media outlets, including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe. The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament, stripped “foreign agent” media outlets of their accreditation. The Federation Council, Russia’s upper house, has also introduced a similar ban.