EU Parliament approves resolution to counter Russian media ‘propaganda’
Putin pointed out that while "everyone tries to lecture" Russia on democracy, European lawmakers themselves resort to a policy of restrictions, "which is not the best way" to deal with any issues.
Adding that he hopes the Western move to "counter Russian propaganda" won't lead to serious restrictions, the president congratulated RT and Sputnik journalists on their work.
In the Wednesday vote, 304 MEPs supported the resolution based on the report ‘EU strategic communication to counteract propaganda against it by third parties’, with 179 voting against it and 208 abstaining.
Written by a Polish member of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group, Anna Fotyga, the report alleged that Moscow aims to "incite fear and divide Europe," and called for the establishment of measures to tackle the perceived Russian propaganda threat.
The report suggests that Moscow provides financial support to opposition parties and organizations in EU member states, causing disintegration within the bloc.
At the same time, Russia is accused of "information warfare," with such entities as RT TV channel, Sputnik news agency, Rossotrudnichestvo federal agency and the Russkiy Mir (Russian World) fund alleged to be among its most threatening propaganda "tools."
The document also places Russian media organizations alongside terrorist groups such as Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL).
Sputnik has already appealed to the UN, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and a number of international journalists' organizations and NGOs, including Reporters Without Borders, to take measures to stop what it considers to be interference into freedom of speech in the EU.
"The resolution hits straight at a number of respected media, including Sputnik agency, and has an aim to stop their activity in the EU. Moreover, the resolution bluntly contradicts the EU's own human rights and freedom of press norms," reads the letter signed by Sputnik Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan.