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MOSCOW — According to a report in the Russian daily Kommersant, the European Union is preparing a new list of Russian companies and individuals against which sanctions are to be brought over Russia’s conflict with Ukraine. Several major state-run TV networks are reported to be on the list.
The government-funded English-language network Russia Today and the country’s most popular TV stations — Channel One, Rossiya and NTV — are on the list for their participation in “propaganda efforts in support of annexation of Crimea by Russia and a Russian military intervention in Ukraine,” Kommersant reported. Journalists Mikhail Leontyev, Irada Zeinalova and Mikhail Gusman are specifically mentioned.
From the beginning of anti-government protests in Ukraine last November and especially after the escalation of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict over the annexation of the Black Sea peninsular region of Crimea, Russia’s state-run television networks were believed to provide a biased coverage of the situation.
Another Russian journalist, Dmitry Kiselev, is already on the list of sanctions imposed on Russian individuals and companies by the United States and the European Union. The recently appointed head of the state-run media corporation Rossiya Segodnya, which replaced the more liberal news agency RIA Novosti late last year, increased his notoriety last month when he said on- air on the network Rossiya that Russia was “the only country in the world that could realistically turn the U.S.A into radioactive ash.”
Meanwhile, the Norwegian news organization Barents Press condemned the imposition of sanctions on Kiselev as an infringement on freedom of speech.
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