Russia accused of full assault on media freedom   

The State Department accuses Russia of a severe attack on media freedom, as Russian officials threaten to limit visas and access for U.S. journalists. Despite this, qualified Russian journalists still receive visas. The U.S. condemns Russia for restricting press freedom and blocking independent media outlets, highlighting the fragility of the Russian government’s narrative.

The US State Department has said that Moscow is ‘engaged in a full assault on media freedom’. A journalist (not identified for security reasons) with knowledge of a meeting between representatives from US news outlets and Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova told the Voice of America (VOA) ‘During the meeting, Zakharova [said that] accreditation and, by extension, visas would be extended for only three months, and if the U.S. doesn’t improve its current treatment of Russian journalists, they would ban us from working in Russia.’

In response, State Department spokesperson Ned Price said that qualified Russian journalists are still being issued visas and those working in the USA are not having their Foreign Press Center credentials taken away.

Let’s be clear: The Kremlin is engaged in a full assault on media freedom, access to information, and the truth. The Russian Government fundamentally and wilfully disregards what it means to have a free press, as evidenced by them blocking or banning nearly every independent Russian outlet seeking to report inside their country,’ he added. ‘Threatening professional journalists for simply trying to do their jobs and seeking to seal off Russia’s population from any foreign information illustrates the flimsiness and the fragility of the Russian Government’s narrative.’ Price told reporters.