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Russian embassy: Freedom of speech in Estonia ‘selective’

The Russian embassy in Tallinn criticized the decision of the Estonian authorities not to accredit employees of Russian state news agency Rossiya Segodnya for an EU presidency event. This showed that freedom of speech in Estonia was “selective”.

“The fight of the Estonian state against the Russian mass media crosses all imaginable lines,” a statement by the embassy read. “There are numerous similar examples. The most recent one was the decision [of the Estonian authorities] not to accredit journalists of Rossiya Segodnya for the informal meeting of the foreign ministers of the European Union, to be held in Tallinn on Sept. 7-8.”

According to the embassy, such a breach of the “rights” of Russian journalists during Estonia’s EU presidency reduced the “credibility of the European Union”.

Considering that in this year’s media freedom ranking of Reporters Without Borders, Estonia was ranked 12th out of 180 countries around the world, the decision of the Estonian authorities was “especially astonishing and hypocritical”, the embassy further stated.

Not accrediting the employees of Rossiya Segodnya showed that freedom of speech in Estonia was “selective”, the statement said.

Estonia refused to 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.

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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