BELGRADE – The European Parliament voted in favor of a resolution on countering Russian media outlets, such as the Sputnik news agency and the RT broadcaster. As many as 304 parliamentarians voted in favor the document, 179 voted against and 208 abstained.
As many as 691 officials took part in the vote, meaning less than half supported the resolution.
The resolution proposed by EU parliamentarian from Poland Anna Elzbieta Fotyga drew parallel between Russian strategic communication and the propaganda disseminated by Daesh terrorist group. The document calls for extra European Commission funding for counter-propaganda projects.
Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan sent a letter to organizations for Security and Co-operation in Europe and Reporters Without Borders to seek support against restrictions to media freedom in the European Union.
“The resolution directly attacks a number of reputable media sources, including Sputnik, and aims to prevent them from operating within the EU. Worse still, the motion directly contravenes the EU’s own rules on human rights and media freedom such as Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, Article 11 of the EU Charter on Fundamental Rights, and an EU Resolution made on 11 December 2012 aimed at developing a Digital Freedom Strategy in EU Foreign Policy,” Simonyan said in her letter.
The letter was also sent to the European Federation of Journalists, the Index on Censorship and the Committee to Protect Journalists, among others.
Russian Foreign Ministry Commissioner for Human Rights, Democracy and the Rule of Law Konstantin Dolgov commented on the resolution before it was passed.
“This whole issue is discrimination, blatant discrimination against the rights of Russian media,” Dolgov said, as broadcast on RT.
According to the official, Russia will continue bringing up the issue attempts of other countries trying to ban its media outlets because “this is discrimination, a clear violation of international norms.”
“The authors of such initiatives are afraid of the very effective work of Russian media, news outlets, including RT,” he said, adding that “weakness is always the reason behind an intention to ban something.”