MOSCOW, January 12. /TASS/. The United States’ demand that Sputnik agency’s partner, RIA Global, register itself as a foreign agent can be seen as discrimination which runs counter to international laws on the freedom of speech, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.
"Such measures are absolutely inacceptable," she said. "We consider these steps as a manifestation of open discrimination of our mass media and infringement upon the freedom of speech, let alone the fact that they run counter to the basic norms of international law concerning equal access to information for all and free expression of opinion."
According to the Russian diplomat, such actions actually block the work of Russian mass media in the United States. "I would like to put it straight: such measure is not just a formality, as it might seem to some or as some might want to present it," she said. "Actually, it blocks the work of our mass media in the United States, which we have seen on the example of RT, when journalists were stripped of accreditation with the Congress. More to it, employees of Russian mass media outlets are stripped of visas, expelled from the country and even subjected to pressure from foreign security services."
"Washington seems to be unwilling to revise its policy of fanning anti-Russian hysteria and the atmosphere of confrontation. Instead, they are unfolding yet another spiral of the media cleansing campaign," Zakharova said, adding that such steps are reminiscent of the global confrontation between capitalist and socialist countries in the past. "We thought this page in history of the Western countries has long been turned over but it is not true as standards and patterns of the past are still being widely used," she stressed.
TASS said earlier citing Russia’s embassy in Washington that it became known on January 10 that RIA Global, a company that generates content for Sputnik [news agency], would be able to continue its operation only after it is registered as a foreign agent. The US Department of Justice issued a relevant document on January 5. It claimed that RIA Global was engaged in political activities in the United States in the interests of Rossiya Segodnya news agency. Once registered, RIA Global will have to inform about its foreign agent status during its broadcasts.
Earlier, Russia’s RT America was put on the US list of foreign agents whereas no such demands were put forth to other foreign media, such as British BBC, Chinese CCTV, French France 24 TV.