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SOCHI, September 18. /TASS/. The speaker of Russia's upper house of parliament expressed confidence on Friday that any sanctions against journalists and media organizations were unacceptable in principle.
"The whole global community should take a principled stand. No one has the right to take any action against journalists, media organizations and freedom of speech," said Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko said.
She said Europe was only beginning to understand now what was happening in Ukraine. "And as soon as Europe felt the bite of such ill-considered, anti-democratic policy of pursuing people who have a different point of view, it understood that Ukraine is far from European standards when it actually adopts such wild sanctions lists," Matviyenko said.
The lawmaker noted also that President Petro Poroshenko had removed the names of BBC journalists from its newly-published list of individuals, banned from Ukraine along with many Russian journalists and public figures, following an uproar of criticism from Europe.
"We consider absolutely unacceptable any sanctions against journalists, human rights activists and politicians in principle who express a different point of view someone doesn't like," Matviyenko said.
The Ukrainian president signed a decree on Wednesday, naming almost 400 people and 100 legal entities to a blacklist to face penalties for reasons of "national security".
Among the Russians sanctioned were employees of news agencies TASS and RIA Novosti, Izvestiya and Rossiyskaya Gazeta publications, RUPTLY news agency, Vzglyad.ru, news channels NTV and Channel One. Dmitry Kiselyov, director general of Rossiya Segodnya news agency, also found himself listed.
The punitive measures against blacklisted persons include visa bans and asset freezes.