The European parliamentarians, who passed the resolution on countering Russian media, have set a dangerous precedent and cast a shadow of a doubt on the entire notion of the freedom of speech, Russia’s State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin said Thursday.
On Wednesday, the European Parliament voted in favor of a resolution on countering Russian media outlets, such as the Sputnik news agency and the RT broadcaster. As many as 304 voted in favor the document, 179 voted against and 208 abstained. With a total of 691 officials taking part in the vote, less than half supported the resolution.
“Such a decision by our colleagues in the European parliament, could lead to negative consequences and become a dangerous precedent,” the press service of Russia’s lower house of parliament quoted Volodin as saying. “The EU lawmakers have announced plans to counter [Russian] media and by doing so have cast a shadow of a doubt on the freedom of speech,” Volodin stressed. The European Parliament infringes upon the rights of reporters and thus prompts other countries’ parliaments to make similar decisions, he said. “Infringing upon the rights of journalists, the European Parliament provokes the parliaments of other countries into making similar decisions while being guided by that precedent,” Volodin said. Russian President Vladimir Putin said the move demonstrated “degradation” of how the West perceived democracy. He praised the news agency Sputnik and the international broadcaster RT for their work, saying he hoped the resolution would not entail any real curbs on Russian news outlets.