MOSCOW, November 29. /TASS/. Washington’s attempts to depict Moscow’s response to the US harassment of Russian media outlets as a threat to freedom are like a post-premiere party after a ‘success’ at the theater of the absurd, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova wrote on Facebook. According to her, these efforts actually indicate Washington’s intention to further aggravate bilateral relations.
"Yesterday, the US Department of State said that the ‘new Russian legislation that allows the Ministry of Justice to label media outlets as ‘foreign agents’ and to monitor or block certain internet activity presents yet another threat to media freedom in Russia,’ while the law was adopted in response to Washington’s persecution of the Russia Today TV channel," Zakharova noted. "It definitely is not a play at the theater of the absurd. It is a party following its successful premiere," she added.
The Russian diplomat highlighted the US authorities’ tactics. At first, they had been harassing the Russian TV channel in every possible way, exerting pressure on journalists from RT and Sputnik. Later they then started to carp, saying that "freedom of expression-including speech and media which a government may find inconvenient-is a universal human rights obligation Russia has pledged to uphold."
"While the phrase, which reads ‘expanding the Foreign Agents Law to include media outlets opens the door to onerous requirements that could further stifle freedom of speech and editorial independence in Russia,’ seems to have been taken from a speech delivered by Margarita Simonyan [RT chief editor]," Zakharova said.
"Such comments issued by the US show not only its deliberate intention to further aggravate bilateral relations and constantly meddle in Russia’s domestic affairs, but also to the desperate lack of professionalism within its bureaucratic machine that has been stuck in an intellectual crisis for years," she pointed out.