Moscow will retaliate towards French media in Russia after the financial institution accounts of RT France, the French arm of its state broadcaster, have been frozen, Russian information businesses quoting an nameless overseas ministry supply reported Saturday (21 January).
Hours later, the director of the channel in France introduced that it must shut down as a consequence.
“The blocking of RT France accounts will result in retaliatory measures towards the French media in Russia,” the TASS and RIA Novosti information businesses quoted the overseas ministry supply as saying.
The measures “might be remembered”, the supply mentioned, accusing Paris of “terrorising Russian journalists.”
The channel’s director in France, Xenia Fedorova introduced in an announcement posted on Twitter later Saturday that this had been the ultimate blow.
“After 5 years of harassment, the authorities in energy have achieved their purpose: the closure of RT France,” she wrote.
She denounced the French transfer as an “arbitrary measure” that amounted to censorship, including that 123 workers have been prone to not being paid for January and will lose their jobs.
Paris blames EU sanctions
The accounts freeze was a part of the most recent European Union sanctions towards Russia.
On Friday, the unions of RT France – already banned from broadcasting – mentioned their accounts had been frozen within the nation.
The French finance ministry advised AFP that chain’s property had been frozen in compliance with the latest EU sanctions over Ukraine – not on Paris’s initiative.
Not like the preliminary sanctions determined after Moscow launched its Ukraine offensive, contemporary EU measures adopted in December supplied for an “asset freeze” of focused entities, the identical ministry supply mentioned.
Amongst these entities is “ANO TV Novosti, a dad or mum firm holding 100% of RT France”, the supply mentioned, explaining the choice.
However an RT France commerce union consultant countered this, saying the order got here instantly from the French treasury.
“We acquired a letter from our financial institution on January 18 which mentioned that our financial institution accounts have been frozen on the request of the final administration of the treasury,” the consultant advised AFP.
EU authorities had in March final yr banned RT – together with the French language model – and fellow Russian broadcaster Sputnik from transmitting within the EU bloc or on-line, accusing them of appearing as mouthpieces for Kremlin “disinformation”.
In July, the European Courtroom of Justice threw out an attraction from RT France towards a broadcast ban launched by the EU shortly after the Kremlin despatched troops to Ukraine.
France was the one EU member state nonetheless to host an RT department, having carried out so since 2017, and retain a registered RT subsidiary, which has continued to supply and distribute programmes which are out there through VPN web entry.
Launched in 2005 as “Russia Right now”, state-funded RT has expanded with channels and web sites in languages together with English, French, Spanish and Arabic.
Even earlier than the Russian navy operation in Ukraine, Germany had taken the German language RT service off the air in December 2021 for not having a legitimate satellite tv for pc licence.
Most Western media shops are already off-air in Russia and have seen their web sites banned.
Western nations have lengthy accused RT of distributing disinformation and Kremlin-friendly propaganda.