08:20 GMT25 January 2020
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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – The Rossiya Segodnya International News Agency said that employees of Sputnik Estonia received letters from the Baltic country’s Police and Border Guard Board with a warning of possible criminal prosecution unless they stopped working for the news agency by 1 January 2020.

    Sputnik and RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan said that the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s (OSCE) and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) should be dismantled if the employees of Sputnik Estonia were jailed.

    “Estonia officially threatens to jail our journalists unless they resign. If the authorities of this country were not stopped, the OSCE, the ECHR and any other European organization responsible for [protecting] the freedom of expression should dissolve themselves”, Simonyan wrote in her Telegram channel.

    According to Russian deputy envoy to the international organization Maxim Buyakevich, Russia expects Harlem Desir, the OSCE representative on freedom of the media, to express a reaction to the threats.

    “We and the office of the OSCE representative on freedom of the media are now focusing on the situation around Sputnik Estonia. We are in contact with the [Desir’s] office. We have already informed Desir’s office about our concerns. We are controlling the situation and will follow his [Desir’s] reaction”, Buyakevich said on late Wednesday.

    He pointed out that Russia would use OSCE mechanisms to protect the interests of Sputnik Estonia.

    Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN secretary-general, said earlier that he would look into the case.

    Russian media in Estonia and its two Baltic neighbors have been frequently targeted by authorities. The Russian Foreign Ministry has accused the three nations of a coordinated crackdown on media, which is not in line with the principle of freedom of expression.

    The Estonian authorities cited earlier the 2014 EU sanctions as a pretext for possible legal action.

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    Tags:
    media freedom, European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), OSCE, prosecution, threats, sanctions, Sputnik, Estonia
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