PARIS (Sputnik) – The letter was signed by author Galia Ackerman, historians Antuan Arzhakovskii and Wladimir Berelowitch, journalist Michel Eltchaninoff, as well as teachers and translators.
"In the context of the hybrid war, authorization for broadcasting in France, given to Russia Today, is a very grave issue, because it can lead to confusion of minds and dissension within the French … We are asking you in the name of preserving civilian peace to recall Russia Today’s license for operation on France’s territory," the letter, published by Le Monde newspaper, read.
This comes two weeks after the Russian Justice Ministry labelled nine foreign media, including US government-backed Voice of America and Radio Liberty, as "foreign agents" for receiving foreign funding after the US Justice Department did the same to RT America.
Meantime, a senior Russian lawmaker has told Sputnik that french media working in Russia would face the kind of restrictions some US media have been targeted with if the recently accredited RT France broadcaster loses its license.
"If its license is recalled, French media in Russia will undoubtedly get a response – the same kind of measures that were taken against US media," Vladimir Dzhabarov, first deputy chair of the upper-house Federation Council’s foreign affairs committee, said.
Over the past months, RT has faced pressure and allegations from a number of Western states. Particularly, in November, RT America registered as a "foreign agent" in the United States under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) upon the request of the Department of Justice. Other foreign state media outlets in the United States, such as the United Kingdom’s BBC, China’s CCTV, Germany’s Deutsche Welle and others, have not been requested to register under FARA. RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said the broadcaster was choosing between registering or being charged in a criminal case by the US government.
The request to register as a "foreign agent" in the United States followed months of claims about the broadcaster’s alleged interference in the 2016 US presidential election. The outlet, as well as the Russian authorities, have repeatedly denied the allegations of meddling.