14:11 GMT01 June 2020
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    Estonia's decision to refuse accreditation to Rossiya Segodnya journalists seeking to attend the EU's ministerial meeting in Tallinn undermines the bloc's authority, the Russian Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday.

    Moscow slammed Tallinn's decision to bar Rossiya Segodnya reporters from covering the EU's ministerial meeting due to take place in the Estonian capital on September 7-8.

    "We were perplexed at the decision of the Estonian Presidency of the Council of the EU to refuse, without explanation, to allow Rossiya Segodnya International Information Agency journalists cover the informal meeting of the EU foreign ministers in Tallinn on September 7-8," the Russian ministry said.

    "The outright discrimination of one of the largest news agencies shows once again what the hypocritical statements of the Estonian authorities about adherence to freedom of speech and access to information are," it said.

    The ministry said that regardless of whether the decision was the initiative of the Estonian presidency or agreed with Brussels, the prohibitive measures by Tallinn in any case undermined the EU's authority.

    "We urge the relevant international structures to pay special attention to this egregious case and take measures to prevent the infringement upon the rights of Russian journalists," it said.

    The requests for accreditation to the meeting of three correspondents of Rossiya Segodnya were rejected without explanation of reasons. The agency has for the first time faced such restrictions in getting access to coverage of ministerial level events under the aegis of the European Union.

    European Journalist Federation (EFJ) General Secretary Ricardo Gutierrez described the refusal as "a serious attack on media freedom", and the EFJ has issued an alert level 2 over the situation.


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