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OSCE media representative urges Estonia to refrain from pressure on Sputnik

Harlem Desir noted that unnecessary limitations on the work of foreign media can affect the free flow of information

MOSCOW, December 21. /TASS/. OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir has called on Tallinn to refrain from restrictions against journalists of the Estonian agency Sputnik (owned by MIA Rossiya Segodnya), Desir wrote on his Twitter page on Saturday.

"I wrote to Estonia authorities about measures targeting journalists of Sputnik Estonia following individual sanctions against [MIA Rossiya Segodnya Director General] Mr. [Dmitry] Kiselev. I encourage authorities to refrain from unnecessary limitations on the work of foreign media which can affect the free flow of information," Desir tweeted.

On Friday, Alexei Pushkov, Chairman of the Russian Federation Council’s Interim Commission on Information Policy and Cooperation with the Media, told TASS that in a phone call, Harlem Desir promised to look into the situation with pressure on the Sputnik journalists in Estonia, pointing out that no sanctions had been slapped on the agency in the European Union.

MIA Rossiya Segodnya said earlier that Estonia’s Police and Border Guard Board was threatening to open criminal cases against Sputnik employees if they continued to work for the head organization after January 1, 2020. Apart from that, Sputnik is forced to vacate its rented premises by the end of February as required by the renter. Back in the autumn, Estonian offices of foreign banks froze transfer of salaries to the agency’s employees in Tallinn and funds for tax payment and rent payments. It was reported back then that other banking institutions in the republic also refused to transfer means.

Sputnik’s office in Tallinn employs 35 people.