The EU on Friday criticized Russia’s decision to close the Moscow office of German broadcaster Deutsche Welle, calling it “unacceptable” and a “bad development”.
This week, the Russian Foreign Ministry announcement the closing of DW office in Moscowclaiming the move was a ‘retaliatory measure’ against Berlin banning German-language broadcasts from Russian state-run media RT in December last year.
In addition, the accreditation of DW’s correspondents would be revoked and its satellite broadcasting in Russia would be interrupted.
The organization, which is an international broadcaster based in the EU as the parent company of RFI France Media Worldis designated as a “foreign agent,” Russia said in a statement.
He added that Russia would draw up a list of people involved in the December shutdown of RT who would be banned from entering the Russian Federation.
“The list will not be published,” the statement added.
The move “sadly illustrates yet again their continued violation of media freedom and disregard for media independence,” EU foreign affairs spokesman Peter Stano told reporters.
The shutdown adds to tensions between the West and Russia that have reached dramatic levels due to the massive deployment of Russian troops to Ukraine’s borders in what the EU and US fear is the prelude to a new invasion.
Stano said Berlin’s ban on the RT channel was because the channel did not have a valid license to broadcast in Germany and was “completely unrelated to Deutsche Welle’s work in Russia”.
Russia: ban decision @Deutsche Welle is unacceptable and has no justification. This illustrates once again the continued violations of media freedom and disregard for media independence by the authorities 🇷🇺. 🇪🇺 stands in solidarity with DW https://t.co/viXQSL9TdD
— Peter Stano (@ExtSpoxEU) February 4, 2022
Launched in 2005 as “Russia Today”, as a subsidiary of RIA Novosti, one of Russia’s three public news broadcasters, RT has grown with channels and websites in languages such as English, French, Spanish and Arabic.
In the West, RT’s ability to deliver credible journalism is in question.
The 2019 to study “Weaponizing News” from King’s College London concluded that outlets like RT and Sputnik are propaganda tools that excel in “targeted disinformation” aimed at portraying Western democracy as “unstable” while painting a positive image of Russia.