Major Journalism Trade Unions Stand with Sputnik Against Censorship

© Sputnik / Igor Russak / Go to the photo bankStand of the Sputnik International Information Agency
Stand of the Sputnik International Information Agency - Sputnik International
Sputnik News Agency and Radio Broadcaster has received the support of both the International Federation of Journalists (EFJ) and European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) following the passing of a controversial resolution by the European Parliament.

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EDINBURGH, November 24, 2016, Sputnik UK Press Office – The motion, aimed at "counteracting propaganda" against the European Union by "third parties", took aim at media organizations such as Sputnik and RT and has earned the ire of the international trade unions. The support for Sputnik came in the form of a letter signed by the IFJ President as well as via a comment from the European Federation of Journalists.

Following the passing of the resolution on EU strategic communications aimed at countering so-called "propaganda" on November 23, Sputnik News Agency and Radio has called on several European and American organisations that support media freedom to take measures to prevent its effects, which are believed to be a threat to freedom of the press in Europe. The agency has outlined its aims in an official letter, signed by its Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan on November 23, which was sent to the relevant bodies. The international news agency addressed entities, such as the United Nations, UNESCO, and Reporters Without Borders, to seek support for freedom of the press.

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The EFJ further condemned the motion as an act of "demonization and censorship" as well as perpetuating a "Cold War narrative" and also criticized the bizarre comparison made between Russian media and Daesh terrorists. The trade body, which represents around 320,000 journalists in 43 different European countries, also called for the EU to instead promote independent journalism, media pluralism, and greater public understanding of the media.

Notably, only a minority of MEPs (44 per cent) actually voted in favor of the resolution with most of those that did coming from the conservative or Christian democrat groups. Meanwhile, most MEPs from the liberal or socialist groups chose to either abstain or voted against the proposition. Also, the total number of abstentions was unusually high (208) at decision time.

Commenting on the resolution, IFJ President, Philippe Leruth, said: "In my opinion, those media should have been given a chance to defend themselves in front of the European Parliament against such an accusation, it seems that opportunity wasn't offered to them… European Parliament as well as the International and the European Federation of Journalists [is] attached to freedom of expression: freedom of expression is based on the principle that facts are sacred and the comment is free. Even though the comment may not please us, this principle should always prevail."

Sputnik ( is a news agency and radio network with multimedia news hubs in dozens of countries. Sputnik broadcasts through its websites in over 30 languages, as well as on analogue and digital radio, mobile apps, and social media. Sputnik newswires, available by subscription, 24/7 in English, Arabic, Spanish and Chinese.

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