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Russia shouldn’t go ‘tooth for a tooth’ after Facebook bans Russian-linked media – Lavrov

Russia shouldn’t go ‘tooth for a tooth’ after Facebook bans Russian-linked media – Lavrov
Sergey Lavrov says he is opposed to retaliating against foreign media in Russia after the Facebook ban of Russia-linked pages. Moscow should instead focus on upholding the rights of its journalists abroad.

The recent suspension of four Maffick Media Facebook pages after a CNN report on their links to RT is “definitely another example of pressure against Russian media and against free speech,” Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told media after a meeting with his Slovak counterpart and current chairman of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Miroslav Lajcak.

Lavrov said he had also brought to Lajcak’s attention recent cases of discrimination against Sputnik and RT, including journalists being arbitrarily banned from official events in Spain.

When asked whether Moscow would retaliate against foreign media in Russia, however, Lavrov said he is “firmly against” such measures.

The fact that we still have not done so is not only testimony to our restraint, but also to our strength. We are an open society.

He pointed out that Ukrainian journalists are freely operating in Russia, including those reporting “rather aggressively” on both internal Russian events and Moscow’s relationships with the West.

The authorities responsible for deciding on a response should not employ the “tooth for a tooth” principle, Lavrov said.

“We should focus on maintaining comfortable working conditions for foreign journalists in Russia, while at the same time firmly defending the rights of our journalists abroad,” using the resources of international media rights institutions, the Russian foreign minister said.

Also on rt.com ‘End of free speech’: Maffick CEO, host slam Facebook’s unprovoked ‘censorship’ after CNN report

During the weekend, CNN reported on the “Russian links” of several Facebook pages hosting political videos with millions of subscribers and over two billion views. Shortly afterwards, Facebook suspended four pages run by Maffick Media, half of which is owned by RT subsidiary Ruptly, and the other by In The Now host Anissa Naouai. No prior warning or explanation had been given for the ban, which Naouai called an act of “blatant censorship.”

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