10 April 2020
Moscow: 15:59
London: 13:59

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768 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     760 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities

PRESS RELEASES AND NEWS

09.07.2019

Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova's answer to a media question on the refusal of the British authorities to accredit Russian news agencies at an international conference in London

Question: What could you say about the refusal of the British authorities to accredit the Russian news agencies RT and Sputnik at the Global Conference for Media Freedom?

Maria Zakharova: One gets the impression that having announced an event with a flashy title, London decided to show the whole world an example of manipulating public opinion. Judge for yourself. One of the main declared goals of this forum is to unite diplomatic efforts to protect media freedom and discuss violations of the rights of media workers. So what do we have in reality?

All preparations for the forum were carried out behind closed doors. It is hard to describe it any other way. Although the agenda implied an open and broad discussion, the delegations were not offered to take part in elaborating the final document – it was drafted by a narrow group of countries in an atmosphere of secrecy. Maybe this is exactly why, as far as we know, despite the ministerial level of participation announced by the Brits, many countries will just send heads of diplomatic missions or experts from their capitals to attend this event.

Despite the official invitation to a Russian delegation, representatives of our Embassy in London were not called to attend a briefing for the diplomatic corps devoted to this forum. The Brits did not send any meaningful materials, either.

Then it went from bad to worse. The organisers refused to accredit the Russian news agencies RT and Sputnik at the forum. Moreover, Britain essentially denied the official Russian delegation the ability to attend the event by not issuing entry visas to its members.

But even these restrictions were not the end of it. The British Foreign Office explained that these media outlets were denied access to the forum because of “their “active role in spreading misinformation.” These are serious accusations publicly levelled by the British authorities at our news agencies.

In all probability, London intends to seek refuge in the concept of “strategic ambiguity” announced by UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, according to which accusations can be made without quoting facts. This approach is unacceptable. We demand that London present within 24 hours the specific facts on which the above statement was based. Otherwise, we will consider the accusations as slander smearing the professional reputation of Russian media and a glaring example of fake news and misinformation.

As for the forum, the organisers demonstrated their true intentions and attitude to media freedom by turning the event into the means of achieving opportunistic political ends. We believe other countries and responsible journalists will draw the appropriate conclusions and we hope that human rights NGOs and relevant international agencies will not shy away from stating their position. In particular, we will closely follow statements by OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir who planned to attend the forum. In fact, we have already sent him a message describing the situation.

 

09.07.2019, 19:06




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