Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation
April 27, 2017
Briefing by spokesperson Maria Zakharova
Refusal to accredit Radio Sputnik, RT and Ruptly video news agency by the French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s electoral staff
We noted what we see as an outrageous decision to deny accreditation to three Russian media outlets – Sputnik, RT, and Ruptly video news agency – accepted by the French presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron’s electoral staff. It should be mentioned that these Russian media outlets submitted their relevant repeated requests in good time and observed all the formalities. Given that no obstacles were put in the way of other foreign media, we regard these prohibitive measures as purposeful and blatant discrimination of the Russian media by a candidate to the presidency of a state that historically stood up for freedom of speech.
Regrettably, this latest encroachment on the rights of the mass media by the Macron team fits in well with his associates’ earlier unsupported accusations against RT and Sputnik, including allegations that they influence the democratic life of the country. We think that democratic life can really be influenced by unhindered media operations promoting the pluralism of opinions and providing people with more opportunities to access information, including alternative points of view.
Many international acts, including the OSCE’s Astana final document of 2010, emphasised the special role of the media in ensuring free and honest elections. However, despite their ostensible public defence of democratic values, French politicians disregard certain human rights imperatives formalised at top level.
We call on specialised international organisations and the relevant authorities of the French Republic to pay special attention to the violation of media rights in the course of the presidential elections [in France], and take steps to prevent these encroachments from being repeated during the second electoral round in May.