Washington accuses Moscow of trying to 'intimidate' US media in Russia

The Russian foreign ministry spokesperson threatened retaliations and to expel Western media in May

US State Department spokesperson Ned Price told reporters that the Russian Ministry of Foreign affairs summoned their colleagues to 'explain to them the consequences of their government's hostile line in the media sphere'. Reuters
Powered by automated translation

The US on Monday has accused Russia of trying to "intimidate" American correspondents in Moscow, after they were called upon by the Russian foreign ministry and threatened with retaliations because of US sanctions.

"The Russian Ministry of Foreign affairs summoned your colleagues to quote 'explain to them the consequences of their government's hostile line in the media sphere,'" State Department spokesman Ned Price told reporters in Washington.

"Let's be clear, the Kremlin is engaged in a full assault on media freedom, access to information and the truth… [in] a clear and apparent effort to intimidate independent journalists."

Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova in May threatened to expel Western media if YouTube continued to block the department's weekly briefings.

On Friday, she again accused Washington of "targeting for repression Russian media" inside the US.

"They are doing everything to make it impossible for Russia media to work," she said, adding that "if they don't normalize the work of Russian media on US territory, there will be forceful measures as a consequence”.

She said the US media representatives were "invited" to the Russian foreign ministry on Monday.

Mr Price said Moscow was reacting to the blacklisting a month ago of three Russian television channels -- Pervy Kanal, Rossiia-1, and NTV – as part of international sanctions in response to Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

He accused Moscow of "false equivalence" in comparing independent US journalists to the sanctioned Russian media, whom he described as "propaganda arms of the Russian government”.

"The United States continues to issue visas to qualified Russian journalists, and we have not revoked the foreign press centre credentials of any Russian journalists working in the United States," he said.

AFP contributed to this report

Updated: June 06, 2022, 11:26 PM