European court upholds ban on Russia’s RT France imposed in wake of Ukraine invasion. Source: The Times of Israel

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European court upholds ban on Russia’s RT France imposed in wake of Ukraine invasion

Judges rule sanctions were ‘appropriate and necessary’; Kremlin says it will take retaliatory measures against Western media working in Russia

By AFP Today, 2:41 pm

This file photograph taken on March 2, 2022, in Paris, shows RT France network down due to a European Union decision after the Russia’s invasion of Ukraine (Ludovic MARIN / AFP)

LUXEMBOURG — A European court on Wednesday upheld a broadcast ban imposed on Russian news channel RT France, leading the Kremlin to say it would further hinder the work of Western media working in Russia.

The European Court of Justice in Luxembourg threw out an appeal from state-owned outlet RT against the ban, which the EU imposed in March as part of EU sanctions slapped on Moscow over its invasion of Ukraine.

The court said in a statement that its decision was based on the sanctions being temporary and found that they were “appropriate and necessary to the aims pursued” given the “extraordinary context.”

“In the light of those considerations, the general court dismisses the action in its entirety,” its judges ruled.

They also concluded that evidence presented by RT France was “not capable of demonstrating an overall balanced treatment by the latter of information concerning the ongoing war.”

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RT France immediately announced an appeal, while the Kremlin said it would take retaliatory measures.

This June 11, 2013 file photo shows employees of the ‘Russia Today’ television channel in Moscow (Yuri Kochetkov/Pool photo via AP, File)

“Of course, we will take similar measures of pressure on Western media that operate in our country,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

  • “We will also not let them work in our country,” he said, describing the Kremlin’s reaction to the ban as “extremely negative.”

“Essentially, RT has been blocked and cannot operate in Europe,” Peskov said. “Europeans are trampling on their own ideals.”

Since Moscow’s February 24 invasion of Ukraine, Russian lawmakers have passed draconian new laws restricting media freedom under which criticism of the war and occupation can lead to lengthy prison sentences.

Consistently accused of parroting Russian state propaganda, RT has been blocked in most Western countries since President Vladimir Putin sent troops to Ukraine.

Grain fields burn, on the outskirts of Kurakhove, Donetsk Oblast, eastern Ukraine, July 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Nariman El-Mofty)

  • Launched in 2005 as Russia Today, the channel had grown its reach through broadcasts and websites in several languages including English, French, Spanish, German and Arabic.

Many foreign journalists have left Russia and a number of foreign media outlets suspended their operations in the country after authorities in Moscow introduced prison terms of up to 15 years for spreading “fake news” about the Russian army.

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