MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On November 16, the European Parliament voted in favor of a resolution on countering Russian media outlets, such as the Sputnik news agency and the RT broadcaster. Out of 691 lawmakers taking part in the vote, 304 voted in favor of the resolution, 179 voted against it, and 208 abstained. Therefore, less than half of the lawmakers supported the resolution.
The EU parliament's resolution said that Sputnik and RT posed a danger to European unity and called for extra European Commission funding for counter-propaganda projects. It also draws parallel between Russian media and the propaganda disseminated by the IS, which is outlawed in Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin commented on the matter by pointing out that the document indicates a degradation of democracy in the West. Praising Sputnik and RT for their work, the president expressed hope that real media restrictions would not follow.
Following the passing of the resolution, Sputnik News Agency and Radio called on several European and US organizations, supporting media freedom, to take measures to prevent its effects, which are believed to be a threat to freedom of the press in Europe. The agency has outlined its aims in an official letter, signed by its Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan on November 23, which was sent to the relevant bodies, in particular the United Nations and UNESCO.
"UNESCO will continue, using all the international instruments available, to support the right of media professionals to collect and disseminate information and opinions in a safe environment, as well as to facilitate journalism based on the values of professional ethics and quality reporting … UNESCO will continue to fulfill its mandate and to follow the situation closely," the letter said.
The organization also highlighted that since its establishment UNESCO worked to promote international legal norms, "aimed at ensuring that every woman and man had the right to seek, receive and impart information and ideas, regardless of frontiers and mode of communication."
Sputnik (sputniknews.com) is a news agency and radio network with multimedia news hubs in dozens of countries. Sputnik broadcasts through its websites in over 30 languages, as well as on analogue and digital radio, mobile apps, and social media. Sputnik newswires, available by subscription, 24/7 in English, Arabic, Spanish and Chinese.