‘Flagrant assault on democracy’: Moscow blasts Baltic states for ‘persecuting’ journalists working for Russia-linked retailers

    Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have been systematically undermining press freedom by launching unjustifiable assaults in opposition to journalists linked with Russia, the International Ministry in Moscow mentioned on Wednesday.

</p><div><p>The degradation of media freedoms within the three Baltic states is <em>“regarding,”</em> the ministry mentioned in a press release marking the day when Russia celebrates journalism.

Latvia final December arrested seven journalists working for 2 Russia-linked retailers. They had been accused of violating EU sanctions in opposition to Dmitry Kiselyov, who heads the Russian media group Rossiya Segodnya. He’s underneath private sanctions from Brussels, which suggests he can’t journey to the EU or personal property there. Latvia interprets it as a blanket ban on working underneath the Rossiya Segodnya umbrella.


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The retailers focused by Latvia included the native department of Sputnik, the Russian information service that has a community of regional places of work all through the world, and Russian-language outlet Baltnews.

Lithuania in 2019 kicked out the editor-in-chief of Sputnik-Lithuania. Marat Kasem, a Latvian citizen, was detained on the airport after returning to Vilnius and ordered to go away the nation. Lithuania labeled him a nationwide safety risk and banned him from returning for 5 years.


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Each nations final yr additionally banned the RT information channel, citing the identical sanctions in opposition to Kiselyov. RT’s possession is completely different from that of Sputnik. Kiselyov isn’t the top of the channel, opposite to what Latvia and Lithuania claimed to justify the ban.

Estonia likewise put stress on the native department of Sputnik, threatening staff with prosecution over alleged violations of EU sanctions in opposition to Kiselyov. Native banks had been pressured to chop its companies to the Russian outlet. Beginning January 1, Sputnik now not has any staff in Estonia because of the risk from the host state.


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“We think about these aggressive actions a flagrant instance of an assault in opposition to the foundations of the democratic society: the liberty of the media and the liberty of expression,” the Russian International Ministry mentioned in regards to the state of affairs within the Baltic.

What occurred with Russian journalists in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia aligns with the present pattern in Western nations “to extend regulation and de facto purge all sources of knowledge representing different viewpoints,” the assertion famous. That is very true for main digital platforms operated by US-based personal corporations.

“Mass blocking of Russian content material has turn into systemic over the previous a number of months and quantities to nothing lower than open censorship,” the ministry mentioned. The “discriminatory actions of the social media monopolists” observe the US authorities’s international agenda to push out any voices difficult the Western mainstream media, Russia believes.

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