Moscow Vows to Respond to France's Ban on Russian TV Channels
10:04 GMT 08.06.2022 (Updated: 10:52 GMT 08.06.2022)
The European Union earlier introduced sanctions against several Russian TV channels, banning their broadcast.
Moscow will respond to France's decision to ban Russian TV channels, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated on Wednesday.
Three Russian TV channels - Russia Planet, Russia 24, and International TV Center - have been banned in the EU following yet another sanctions package introduced by the Union.
"The French authorities have once again proven their 'selfless commitment to the ideals of freedom of speech and access to information'," said the ministry's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova. "Of course, we will explore options for responding to such unfriendly actions and, of course, the answer will be given."
The ministry noted that if the West continues to persecute Russian journalists, Russia will respond "proportionately".
Speaking about Latvia's ban on Russian TV channels, Zakharova called it a "mediagenocide". Particularly, she referred to the local media watchdog's decision to prohibit the broadcasting of all Russian-registered TV channels.
"The only fault of these media operators [...] is that they had the imprudence to be licensed as a media outlet under Russian jurisdiction," she said. "The implementation of this measure deprives about 40% of the country's population of access to almost all television sources of information in Russian."
Zakharova also asserted that Washington does not issue or extend visas to Russian journalists, despite claiming the opposite.
"We wanted to draw the attention of American government agencies and the public to what is happening with the Russian media in the United States. The fact is a war was declared against them, a real war," she said.
The spokeswoman added that a convention for American journalists had been organised in Moscow, where the heads of bureaus of all American media accredited in Russia were invited. They were told "point by point" about all the hardships faced by Russian journalists in the US amid Washington taking issue with the freedom of speech in Russia.
"They didn't seem to know about it," Zakharova said. "That is, American journalists who work in Russia had no idea how their Russian colleagues live in the US."
In the wake of Russia's military operation in Ukraine, the West imposed a slew of harsh sanctions against Moscow, particularly targeting state-run media outlets, including Sputnik and RT. Moscow has repeatedly underlined that the goal of the military operation is to "demilitarise and de-Nazify" Ukraine, but the Western countries have condemned it as an "invasion", targeting Russia's culture, sports, business, and many other spheres.