13:03 GMT17 February 2020
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    Commenting on last week's decision by UK-based Barklays bank to freeze assets belonging to Russian news agency Rossiya Segodnya, Chinese news agency Xinhua noted that the freeze effectively demonstrates "the West's double standards over free press."

    Last Monday, Barclays announced the closure of Rossiya Segodnya's London bureau accounts, without providing any further explanation. On Tuesday, Barclays clarified that the accounts were frozen, not closed, and referred to UK regulations related to the EU's financial sanctions against Rossiya Segodnya General Director Dmitri Kiselev. The bank noted that the news agency, which holds both Sputnik and Radio Sputnik as its subsidiaries, must now obtain a license from the UK Treasury in order to make payments from its London account.

    Commenting on the absurdity of the situation, Margarita Simonyan, the news agency's Editor-in-Chief, said that the closure was both "illegal" and illogical, in that the agency itself not subject to the sanctions, even if Kiselev was banned from having personal accounts in UK banks. Kiselev also strongly criticized the bank's decision, saying that it was a demonstration of censorship, and adding that it interfered with the work of journalists attempting to present alternative viewpoints on world events.

    Xinhua's commentary on the matter, written by Deputy Chief of English TV News Chen Yue, noted that the freeze effectively demonstrates "the West's double standards over free press."

    Chen said that while "Western countries have been flaunting freedom of press and freedom of speech, [regarding] them as a symbol of democracy…the bank account freeze just exposes their double standards." 

    The journalist noted that in reality, "Western media, under the guise of freedom of press, are biased against developing countries," adding that the asset freeze against Rossiya Segodnya has only "let people once again see the true features of the so-called freedom of press flaunted by Western countries."

    Saying that Western journalists too are subject to censorship for "holding views different from 'mainstream voices,'" Chen argued that Rossiya Segodnya has been targeted precisely for its role in providing alternative viewpoints "on the Ukrainian crisis and other international events with a voice [which has] irritated Western countries."


    Rossiya Segodnya to Protect Its Rights Amid UK Bank Account Freeze
    Barclays Declares Rossiya Segodnya London Bureau Bank Account ‘Frozen’
    Russia Considers Rossiya Segodnya Bank Accounts Closure in UK 'Censorship'
    Closure of Rossiya Segodnya Bank Accounts in UK Illegal - Editor-in-Chief
    asset freeze, bank account, sanctions, Rossiya Segodnya, Xinhua News Agency, Barclays Bank Plc, Chen Yue, Dmitry Kiselev, Margarita Simonyan, United Kingdom
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