DANANG, Vietnam – Russian President Vladimir Putin described the US actions against the Russian media working in America as an “attack on freedom of speech” and warned Washington about Moscow’s “mirrored response”.
“It would be funny, as people say, if it were not so sad, because those who do this, in the United States, were beating themselves in the chest and saying that they are democracy-lovers, number one in the world, and in this regard, freedom of speech has always been a measure of democracy – without freedom of speech, democracy does not exist. Attacking our media in the United States is an attack on freedom of speech, without any doubt, “Putin told the press conference on the results of the APEC summit.
Earlier, the US Ministry of Justice demanded from RT America to register as a foreign agent before November 13. The editor-in-chief of “Russia Today” and RT TV channel, Margarita Simonyan called such a deadline “cannibalistic”. According to her, the television channel does not experience such pressure in any country as in the US.
In late October, the microblogging service Twitter blocked advertising from the channels owned by RT and Sputnik, again allegedly due to “interference” in the US presidential election. In addition, earlier US congressmen called for an investigation into Radio Sputnik, which also “interfered” with the election campaign, despite the fact that it began broadcasting in Washington a few months after the election.
The State Duma is discussing retaliatory measures for harassment of Russian media in the United States. In particular, the deputies propose to include foreign media – CNN, Voice of America, Radio Liberty – in the law on foreign agents.
“What we are now discussing in the State Duma – I saw the draft yesterday – it may be too harsh, but it is natural, because extreme assessments and sharp judgments are often being voiced at the level of representative authorities. We definitely will have to answer, and it will be a mirrored, ” Putin said.
How to argue with the media
The President pointed out that there is no evidence that the Russian media interfered in the election campaign in the United States.
“The latest investigations, in the Congress, in my opinion, or in the Senate, have shown that there the share of advertising was basically zero – as much as a hundredth of a percent, the influence on the audience is measured in some tenths or hundredths of a percent.” said Vladimir Putin.
“The mass media express their views: they give information, interpret and express their point of view, you can challenge it if you wish, but not by closing it down, or creating conditions for the impossibility of performing direct professional activity, but by providing your point of view and communicating your information to the audience.” Putin concluded.
Inessa Sinchougova is an Editor and Journalist at Fort Russ News, as well as a research fellow and translator of the Belgrade based think-tank, the Center for Syncretic Studies. She was educated at Victoria University of Wellington (New Zealand), in the field of Political Science and was previously employed in Marketing and Communications Strategy for a Multi-National Corporation. She runs a popular YouTube channel for translations of key Russian Foreign Policy figures and appears regularly on other alternative media channels.