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27 Oct, 2020 19:13

An attack on freedom of speech? Russian Embassy slams US plans to shorten foreign journalist visas to just 240 days

An attack on freedom of speech? Russian Embassy slams US plans to shorten foreign journalist visas to just 240 days

The Russian Embassy in Washington has criticized the US for proposing new restrictions on visas for journalists and threatening that American media workers could also be negatively affected by reciprocal measures in Moscow.

In a comment on Monday, the Embassy called the visa changes an "unjustified complication," which creates "artificial barriers to the normal work of foreign journalists." According to the Embassy, the restrictions "do not correspond to the concepts of freedom of speech and equal access to information."

In late September, the US Department of Homeland Security proposed a rule which would limit the stay of foreign journalists to 240 days, before needing to apply for an extension. Considering that reporters often bring their entire families to the US and tend to spend several years in the country, the constant need to renew would become a complication for many. As things stand, the current time limit is five years.

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According to the Russian Embassy, the current visa arrangement is suitable for all parties.

In the Washington Post, Feature Story News president Simon Marks called the proposed visa changes an "assault on press freedoms by the Trump administration," calling the US a country which "prides itself on a willingness to be scrutinized."

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