The spokeswoman of Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs has slammed the headquarters of French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron for not issuing accreditation to Sputnik and RT journalists.
"We have noted what we see as a flagrant decision of the headquarters of French presidential candidate Macron to refuse accreditation to Russian media outlets, in particular to Sputnik, Russia Today and Ruptly video agency," Zakharova stressed.
On Wednesday, a press secretary from Macron's camp looked away when RT journalists approached her to ask if they would be allowed into the headquarters. The press secretary eventually replied she was too busy to talk after reporters pressured her on freedom of the press.
"Taking into consideration that they did not create any obstacles for other foreign media outlets, we assess these prohibitive measures as purposeful and blatant discrimination of Russian media outlets by a presidential candidate of a country that historically has been on guard of freedom of speech," Zakharova said.
According to Zakharova, this decision "fits perfectly into the narrative of previous groundless accusations" against RT and Sputnik made by Macron's allies and colleagues, who implied that the two media outlets had some kind of negative influence on the democratic life in France.
"We call on international institutions and competent authorities of the French Republic to pay particular attention to the abuse of media rights during the presidential election," Zakharova concluded, adding that Moscow expects the French authorities to take measures to prevent such incidents from happening during the second round in May.
Earlier today, Sputnik editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan also issued a statement on the actions of Emmanuel Macron's HQ toward the broadcaster's reporters.
"So this is how the freedom of speech ends in such an inelegant way in the country, which is proud of its freedoms almost more than of Camembert and Brie [types of cheese]," Simonyan said in a statement.
On April 23, RT reporters were barred from accreditation for the first time despite having applied well in advance and being promised access for the evening of the first election round.