MOSCOW, December 6. /TASS/. US intelligence agencies are tightening the screws on Russian journalists and are trying to recruit them too, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday.
"Apart from legislative pressure, the country’s authorities actively use less formal but in their view, apparently more effective methods," Zakharova stressed.
"Lately, representatives of Russia’s mass media, including in the US, have come under severe pressure from US special services, which also attempted to recruit them," the diplomat said.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson will hold a meeting in Vienna on December 7 to discuss the pressure that US security services have been exerting on Russian journalists, Zakharova said
"Tomorrow, this information will be provided to the US side during the talks scheduled in Vienna between Sergey Lavrov and Rex Tillerson," she noted. "So, they won’t be able to say that they haven’t got this information and they didn’t comment on this."
The diplomat explained that these attempts of putting pressure on journalists are "numerous and multi-faceted."
As an example, she said the US special services tried to persuade one Russian journalist to cooperate. "Their offer was roundly rejected, so they tried another approach through bribery. They later switched to psychological pressure and then just direct threats."
"We view all this as part of a large-scale crackdown against freedom of speech. This is hostility in terms of information not only against Russia, but we also regard this as an infringement upon freedom of speech in general," she said.
"It is terrible to imagine the situation of US mass media themselves because we understand that the special services may find some leverage against them," Zakharova noted.
The diplomat expressed hope that the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media will "pay attention to this unacceptable situation and make certain conclusions."