MOSCOW, January 13. /TASS/. Moscow views the Baltic states’ aggressive actions against Russian-language media outlets as a violation of freedom of the press and expression, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement dedicated to Russian Press Day on Wednesday.
According to the ministry, numerous violations of journalists’ rights in the Baltic countries are concerning. "We view these antagonistic actions to be a flagrant example of an attack on freedom of the press and expression, one of the foundations of any democratic society," the statement reads.
The Russian Foreign Ministry pointed out that in 2019, Lithuanian lawmakers had demanded that Sputnik Lithuania’s website be blocked, while the news agency’s Editor-in-Chief Marat Kasem had been deported and banned from the country for five years. The staff of Sputnik Estonia had to stop their activities due to the risk of criminal prosecution. Meanwhile, Latvia banned the rebroadcast of seven Russian TV channels and shut down the First Baltic Channel. The country’s State Security Service detained seven employees of Sputnik Latvia and Baltnews media outlets.
In this regard, the Russian State Duma (the lower house of parliament) in late December 2020 called on European parliaments to discuss Latvia’s violation of its international obligations concerning freedom of the media and oppose the use of force and censorship as political tools, the Russian Foreign Ministry emphasized.