Embassy Press Officer’s reply to a media question concerning accusations of “spying” made against Channel One Russia journalists
Question: How would you comment on the publications in British media claiming that “Channel One Russia” journalists were involved in some sort of “spying activity”?
Answer: We have taken note of the numerous publications with accusations against “Channel One Russia” journalists of “spying”, as well as of the instruction by the British Ministry of Defence that soldiers should not talk to Russian journalists and report them to the police if they ever see them near military installations.
Such ungrounded accusations raise much concern. “Channel One Russia” works in the UK officially and openly, with all the necessary paperwork, in accordance with British law. In fact, this cannot always be said about certain UK journalists working in Russia.
What is disturbing is the fact of publishing personal data of the Russian journalists, including their IDs and car registration number plates. This, among other concerns, threatens the security of Russian citizens, not to mention that it is a serious violation of generally accepted standards.
This episode is another part of the wider campaign by UK authorities aimed at creating constant obstructions to the work of Russian media in the country. Many of our journalists have problems with visas, bank accounts, or come across numerous and unjustified acts of pressure from the UK regulatory authorities.
Thus, “RT” London office is under constant political pressure, with several attempts to close it by the UK authorities and now also multiple complaints reviewed by “Ofcom” under the pretext of “unbalanced” news coverage. We are witnessing severe attempts to put pressure on the editorial policy of the channel, precisely now that the channel has become more popular among Britons as offering an alternative point of view.
Such cases of blatant pressure on Russian media should be thoroughly considered by the OSCE.