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UK Marks Media Freedom Conference By Banning RT, Sputnik From It

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UK Marks Media Freedom Conference By Banning RT, Sputnik From It

Here we go again

If somebody is surprised by the great skills of the Ukrainian government in censoring media and opressing alternative points of views, there is the answer: Kiev does have professinonal teachers.

The British government just banned Russian news agencies RT and Sputnik from from attending a media freedom conference in London this week.

“We have not accredited RT or Sputnik because of their active role in spreading disinformation,” the Foreign Office said in a statement.

Around 1,000 reporters, journalists, and members of civil society as well as 60 government ministers are set to be at the two-day Global Conference for Media Freedom. Nonetheless, RT and Sputnik did not receive accreditation becase of their alleged role in “spreading disinformation.”

The statement claimed that “journalists from across the world’s media are attending the conference, including from Russia,” but it did not clarify what kind of ‘Russian journalists’ are invited. Most likely, these are some representatives of Russian-speaking pro-Western media outlets, which often based in the Baltic states. 

“It takes a particular brand of hypocrisy to advocate for freedom of press while banning inconvenient voices and slandering alternative media; sadly, the world has learned to expect just that from the UK Foreign Office,” RT said in a statement on the situation.

The Russian Embassy in London described the move as a “direct politically motivated discrimination.” It added that it had complained to the foreign office accusing it of conducting a “months-long smear campaign” against RT.

“What better illustration of the real situation with media freedom in the UK does one need? Yet the organizers of the Conference, as far as we understand, wish to discuss the situation with media freedom anywhere in the world, but not in this country,” the Russian embassy said.

Editor-in-chief of Sputnik and RT Margarita Simonyan said that the British government had failed to provide “a single example of that disinformation”.

Simonyan also recalled how London “sheepishly cleared the post on the Russian origin of the substance used to poison the Skripals”.

“Or how the BBC had been trying to find ‘Russian traces’ — at least some, any at all — when the yellow vests were protesting in Paris,” she added.

Russian Presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov called the whole situation absurd.

“This may be, let me say, a quasi-conference. There cannot be any serious discussion of media freedom when journalists are denied accreditation. I believe this is the brightest illustration of how absurd the things that happen are. Moreover, unfortunately, this absurdity has become regular and chronic in some countries, including the country hosting this event. We can only regret this”, Peskov said.

It’s highly unlikely that any of these statements would impact the decision to pressure Russian media outlets. Most of the governments around the world are working to undermine or supress points of views that do not contribute to their interests. The only realy difference between the so-called ‘Civilized World’ and other states is that ‘democratic nations’ do this claiming this is needed to defend ‘democracy’.

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