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IFJ Urges Paris to Ignore 'Insidious' Demand to Withdraw RT France's Licence

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BRUSSELS (Sputnik) - The French authorities should not give in to the demand of prominent French personalities to stop RT France from broadcasting, which is "an insidious form of censorship," Philippe Leruth, the president of the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ), told Sputnik on Thursday.

"We urge the French authorities not to agree on this demand…The demand of French personalities to withdraw RT France's license to operate within the country's territory appears as an insidious form of censorship, as it is based not on actual fact but on a general statement coming from the United States, where nothing justified this accusation," Leruth said.

The Russian State Duma on Okhotny Ryad Street. - Sputnik International
French Activists Forgot Ideals of Liberty - Simonyan on Calls to Close RT France
On December 18, RT France started broadcasting. In a letter to Olivier Schrameck, the president of the country’s Conseil superieur de l’audiovisuel (CSA), 11 public figures said that RT was accused by high-level officials in the United States and Europe of sowing discord and undermining democracy. On December 21, Le Monde newspaper published an open letter, signed by several French activists, asking the country's media regulator to suspend RT France's operating license.

The IFJ president urged people suspicious of RT France "to watch the news and refer the biased information, if they find some, to the French [Superior Council of the Audiovisual] CSA, where the procedure is crystal clear and the rights of defense are secured.

READ MORE: French Public Activists Demand RT France’s Broadcasting License Be Revoked

At the same time, Leruth called on RT France to "perform their information mission with a higher attention to the ethical duties of our profession, which will demonstrate those accusations are absurd."

The IFJ president called the treatment of RT in the United States "discriminatory" and "shocking," adding that the retaliation measures introduced by the Russian authorities were well-warranted.

READ MORE: RT Editor-in-Chief Glad There Are Concerns in US Over Interpretation of FARA

In November, RT America registered as a foreign agent in the United States, at the behest of the US Department of Justice, and subsequently lost its press credentials in the US Congress. The broadcaster has faced numerous accusations of attempting to influence public life in the United States under the guidance of the Kremlin. Senior Russian officials have repeatedly stressed that Russia does not interfere in other countries' internal affairs.

Scotland's First Minister and Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon makes a speech during the SNP Spring Conference, in Aberdeen, Scotland - Sputnik International
SNP Denies Media Reports About Boycott Against RT, Sputnik
In late November, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law allowing the Russian Justice Ministry to designate foreign media outlets funded from abroad as "foreign agents." The legislation was drafted in response to the pressure being exerted on Russian media operating in the United States. On December 5, the Ministry added nine media outlets, including Voice of America and Radio Liberty, to the list of "foreign agents."

RT has faced criticism in France since before RT France had its first broadcast, in particular, on part of French President Emmanuel Macron, who said at a press conference in May that RT and Sputnik News Agency were spreading false information.

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