Reuters’ alleges “censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials and even physical threats to our journalists” in Russia; the Foreign Ministry responds

On January 31, 2017, Reuters’ Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler sent a message to reporters “Covering Trump the Reuters Way”. In it, he also said:

Reuters is a global news organization that reports independently and fairly in more than 100 countries, including many in which the media is unwelcome and frequently under attack. I am perpetually proud of our work in places such as Turkey, the Philippines, Egypt, Iraq, Yemen, Thailand, China, Zimbabwe, and Russia, nations in which we sometimes encounter some combination of censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials, and even physical threats to our journalists. We respond to all of these by doing our best to protect our journalists, by recommitting ourselves to reporting fairly and honestly, by doggedly gathering hard-to-get information – and by remaining impartial. We write very rarely about ourselves and our troubles and very often about the issues that will make a difference in the businesses and lives of our readers and viewers. [1]

He also published his message on Reuters’ website for the public to read

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova responded to Adler’s statements in her briefing on February 3, 2017 [2]:

Reuters’ allegations regarding Russia

We have taken note of Reuters Editor-in-Chief Steve Adler’s message to the agency’s staff about covering President Trump and his administration. We wouldn’t have taken note of this had not the agency itself drawn attention to this message by publishing it on the agency’s website. I want to stress that the way Reuters operates is not our concern, and the way it covers President Trump does not fall within the competence of the Russian Foreign Ministry. This message is designed for the staff but its open publication has made it a manifesto available to millions of readers. Wed have no doubt that it was a deliberate action on the part of Reuters. Again, I want to stress that we do not comment on the internal recommendations of editorial offices, but we could not leave the following part of the Reuters message unanswered.

According to Mr Adler’s message, Russia is a nation “in which we [Reuters staff] sometimes encounter some combination of censorship, legal prosecution, visa denials, and even physical threats to our journalists.” How can we ignore this? All of this concerns Reuters staff in Russia, Mr Adler writes. Are you serious? Can you tell me exactly when all of this simultaneously, or at least one of these attacks, was directed at your journalists?

We have asked Reuters for a comment. Nobody there could tell us what this means. We asked if any Reuters staff have had any problems in Russia. They attend our briefings and other events held by the Foreign Ministry and other Russian government agencies. A party was recently held for foreign journalists where Reuters leaders could directly approach Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to ask questions of concern to them. Why are you here if the working conditions are so bad? And why don’t we know about the above attacks, if they really happened? This is masochistic behaviour.

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