Russia bans 81 media organizations in response to EU restrictions

The Russian government banned 81 European media organizations Tuesday, continuing a crackdown on information access amidst the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The country’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement the bans are in response to “motivated harassment of domestic journalists and unreasonable bans of Russian media in the EU.”

The Council of the European Union moved to bar the broadcast of four Russian media outlets last month, accusing them of spreading Russian state propaganda.

“Brussels and the capitals of the bloc countries were preferred to go the way of escalation, another illegitimate ban, forcing Moscow to take mirror and proportional countermeasures,” the foreign ministry continued. “The responsibility for such a development lies solely with the leadership of the European Union and the countries of this association that supported such a decision.”

Prominent outlets now banned in Russia include the French newswire Agence France-Presse, as well as the continent’s largest newspapers. France’s Le Monde, Germany’s Der Spiegel, Spain’s El Mundo and Italy’s la Repubblica feature on the list.

The ban also impacts American media’s Politico and its European bureau.

Politico Editor-in-Chief for Europe Jamil Anderlini quickly denounced the ban.

“The retaliatory actions of the Russian Government against journalists from media outlets across Europe, including POLITICO, are completely unacceptable,” he said.

Anderlini also pointed to the imprisonment of The Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich as another example of Russia’s crackdown on media. Gershkovich has been jailed for more than a year on espionage charges that the Journal and the State Department say are fraudulent.

“Unfortunately, this is not the first time press freedoms have been restricted through politically motivated attacks, including the ongoing unjust imprisonment of Evan Gershkovich for committing fair and accurate journalism,” he continued.

The four Russian outlets included in last month’s European Union ban include Voice of Europe, RIA Novosti, Izvestia and Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

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