Estonia denies entry to journalists of Russian state news agency

Russian President Vladimir Putin and editor-in-chief of Rossiya Segodnya, Margarita Simonyan. The Estonian state doesn't consider the agency and its subsidiaries to be independent media companies. Source: (TASS/Scanpix)

Estonia won’t accredit Russian journalists working for state news agency Rossiya Segodnya. The journalists were planning to attend an informal meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union in Tallinn on Sept. 7 and 8.

The state’s institutions reserved the right not to accredit people working for the different outlets of Rossiya Segodnya, and neither did they see them as independent media channels, spokespeople for the Estonian presidency of the Council of the European Union told the Baltic News Service earlier this week.

The same principle would be applied regarding the presidency’s events taking place in Estonia. “To Estonia, media freedom is a very important value, which is confirmed by our very high 12th rank in the 2017 World Press Freedom Index,” representatives of the presidency pointed out.

They stressed that they were cooperating with publications and journalists from Russia as well, albeit only those who followed the principles and values of independent journalism, and didn’t promote extreme and distorted news as well as propaganda.

They also pointed to a resolution of the European Parliament of Nov. 23 last year in which the parliament called Russian news agency Sputnik a “pseudo-agency”.

The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “astonishment” over Estonia’s decision not to accredit the Rossiya Segodnya employees.

Rossiya Segodnya was created in 2013 by executive order of Russian president Vladimir Putin. It replaced RIA Novosti as the Russian state’s news service. The agency is owned and operated by the Russian government. Its editor-in-chief is Margarita Simonyan, at the same time also editor-in-chief of RT, a television channel broadcasting Russian propaganda in English.

In 2014 Rossiya Segodnya launched multimedia platform Sputnik, which is also considered a tool of the Russian propaganda. Estonian Prime Minister Jüri Ratas has repeatedly made clear that members of the Estonian government will not grant interviews to Sputnik.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

Source: BNS

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