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Moscow to respond to Paris’s statements on Russian media — diplomat

December 21, 2017, 16:59 UTC+3

Maria Zakharova reiterated that earlier the French presidential administration employees rejected access for a Rossiya Segodnya correspondent to a protocol event which was open for the press

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Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

© Mikhail Japaridze/TASS

MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. Russia will respond to the actions and statements of the European Union, in particular France, regarding Russian media outlets, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday.

The diplomat reiterated that earlier the French presidential administration employees rejected access for a Rossiya Segodnya correspondent to a protocol event which was open for the press and was attended by Russian Ambassador to France Alexey Meshkov.

"The French representation at the OSCE directly stated that the fact that foreign journalists have credentials does not guarantee access to official events, and a personal invitation is needed," Zakharova noted. "That said, this invitation should not necessarily be given to Russian media representatives, chiefly RT and Sputnik, because, as the French president stated, they are not mass media, but structures of influence and foreign propaganda."

"This is not the first time the French authorities are impeding the professional activity of Russian media employees: an overtly hostile atmosphere is developing around Russian media," she noted. "We regard such steps as a direct neglect by the French side of its obligations in the sphere of mass media freedom. Regardless of whether this policy is Paris’s individual decision or an element of implementation of the general EU project on countering Russia in the information sphere, the Russian side will respond to such actions."

Zakharova also reported that some sort of a conglomerate of French public figures has requested to rescind credentials from RT, which recently started broadcasts in France. "The source of the signal is obvious: it is coming directly from the state represented by the French president," she stressed. "All explanations that were provided on this issue come down to one thing: to Macron’s quote that he made regarding the RT TV channel and the Sputnik news agency. Isn’t it an example of gross interference of the state in media work?"

"We brought up this issue while communicating with OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir and asked him a question: is there any mechanism that could deliver an opinion on whether a news outlet is exposed to some sort of propaganda and, [if so,] to what extent," Zakharova reported. "The answer was there is no such mechanism. Then what are the French president’s conclusions based on?"

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