The UK has frozen the bank account of Russia's Rossiya Segodnya news agency without any explanation. "To close the account of one of the world’s leading news agencies is censorship, the direct obstruction of journalists’ work," Dmitry Kiselyov, head of the news agency, exclaimed, asking "what kind of press freedom and democracy can Britain claim to have if it prevents one of the world's largest news agencies from working in the country?" As RT reports, while no official justification for the move has been offered, a source in the banking sector told the agency the Exchequer has put Dmitry Kiselyov on an anti-Russian sanctions list. With David Cameron in full tyrannical 1984-mode, this latest move is perhaps not entirely surprising (though we await the boomerang from Putin).
Last month, the EU drafted a plan to counter what it sees as “Russian disinformation activities” calling for “promotion of EU policies” in the post-Soviet space and the implementation of measures against Russian media.
The nine-page paper drafted by the EU Foreign Service specifically mentions RT, which according to the report broadcasts “fabrications and hate speech from their bureaus in EU cities.”
The Russian Foreign Ministry lashed out at the EU over the report, saying that the proposed plan is violating the right to freedom of expression and creating conditions of total discrimination against Russian media.
“To close the account of one of the world’s leading news agencies is censorship, the direct obstruction of journalists’ work,” Dmitry Kiselyov said. “What kind of press freedom and democracy can Britain claim to have if it prevents one of the world's largest news agencies from working in the country?”
No formal notification of the move or justification for it was immediately provided. A source in the banking sector told the agency the Exchequer has put Dmitry Kiselyov on an anti-Russian sanctions list, which could have led to the news agency’s account being frozen.
“This is illegal,” Rossiya Segodnya’s Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan tweeted. “The sanctions imply that Kiselyov cannot travel to Europe and have personal bank accounts there. No sanctions were imposed on Rossiya Segodnya news agency.”
The sanctions list, which includes the head of Rossiya Segodnya news agency, was published on March 21. It characterizes Kiselyov as “central figure of the government propaganda supporting the deployment of Russian forces in Ukraine.”
Russia’s ambassador in the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, tweeted that the move is an example of using censorship against media that provides an alternative point of view.
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One wonders when CNBC will have its account frozen for spewing constant propaganda?