MOSCOW, March 2. /TASS/. The Russian Foreign Ministry will allocate special seats for American journalists at press briefings, if the United States dares once again to infringe upon the rights of Russian reporters, Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Friday.
State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert rejected questions from a Russian reporter at a press briefing on Thursday, which concerned bilateral relations and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s State of the Nation Address to the Federal Assembly.
"You’re from Russian TV too? OK! Enough said then, I’ll move on," Nauert interrupted. She thus reacted to the Russian reporter’s attempt to clarify Nauert’s remarks about Putin’s speech. Nauert’s outright rebuff stirred indignation even among some American journalists.
"This behavior is unacceptable! If the State Department once again dares to label our journalists who are present at press briefings ‘journalists from Russia’ and stop communicating with them because of that, we will carry out what we promised," Zakharova said. "We will arrange special seats for the so-called journalists from the US at the Foreign Ministry’s press center so that your journalists could feel this time what it is all about."
"Earlier, literally several decades ago, people with different skin color were not allowed to ride on the same bus in the United States. It is necessary to overcome that instead of returning to the flawed practice of the early 19th century, dividing journalists into countries and nationalities. You have no right to deny them access to information due to their nationality," Zakharova stressed. She also thanked "those American reporters who defended their Russian counterparts’ right to access information and be treated equally."