11 February 2021

Briefing by Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, Moscow, February 11, 2021: double standards in Western approaches to media freedom

We have repeatedly said that Russia is not the only country targeted with interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state. We have cited examples. Here is one more. Even if it is not the most vivid or eloquent case, it is no less indicative.

I read the news: “We are deeply concerned about declining media pluralism in Hungary… the loss of the broadcasting license by an opposition Hungarian radio station, US Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price said in a written statement yesterday.”

Again, this is a small but very striking example. I think that Hungary is fully capable of figuring out what to do, in line with its own legislation, including in the information sphere.

The most interesting thing is that EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell, who recently visited the Russian Federation, actually said as much during a news conference, where he was asked about the grounds for closing media outlets in a number of EU countries, in particular, Russian-language media. He said he hoped and believed that all these problems would be resolved on the basis of those countries’ legislation as well as with respect for the international norms binding on these states. I would say this should also apply to Hungary.

There is one more aspect. I would like to remind you that it was the US State Department and its agencies such as American embassies that welcomed the closure of three television channels in Ukraine. Now, I would like to understand the difference. Why is the closure of a media outlet in one country condemned, while the closure of another outlet in another country is encouraged, on the contrary? We know the answer only too well.