Since the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, Russian broadcasters and state media outlets have been banned in multiple countries. However, RT (formerly Russia Today) challenged a ban from France for its channel RT France.
Ursula von der Leyen has previously said the “Russian state media” was banned to prevent them from broadcasting their “lies” about the war in Ukraine.
The decision to ban RT France was made in the framework of the EU sanctions against Moscow, according to a ruling consulted by AFP.
Now on Wednesday, despite RT France appealing to have the ban overturned, the European Court of Justice rejected the request to cancel the suspension of its broadcasting.
In its decision, which the Russian state media has announced it will appeal, the EU court argues that this “temporary ban” does not “call into question” freedom of expression “as such”, contrary to what the Russian state media claimed.
In a statement after the ruling, the ECJ said “the Russian Federation has engaged in a propaganda campaign justifying and supporting its aggression against Ukraine, targeting civil society in the European Union and neighbouring countries, by grievously distorting and manipulating the facts”.
Dismissing concerns raised by RT France about “general interest”, “the proportionate nature of the measures” and “alleged infringement of the principle of non-discrimination”, the court said it rejected the action “in its entirety”.
RT France has already launchd an appeal against the EU courts decision to uphold the broadcast ban.
They said in a statement; “The broadcasting ban remains in effect. RT France decided to appeal this decision to the EU court in order to achieve recognitions of its rights.”
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It comes amid another blow to Putin where China has suspended its investment in Russia via its ‘Belt and Road Initiative’, according to reports.
The Financial Times quoted a report by the Green Finance & Development Center at Fudan University (Shanghai), which says that for the first time since the launch of the program in 2013 China has not invested in Russia.
According to the centre’s chief Christoph Nedopil Wang, the threat of Western sanctions could deter China from investing in the Russian Federation.
However at the same time, he also noted that Chinese purchases of Russian energy have increased.
Sir Stephen Lovegrove, UK national security adviser, has also warned about the risk of nuclear war with China or Russia because of a “breakdown of communication” with the two countries.
He said the erosion of backdoor channels had resulted in an increased chance of an accidental escalation into war.
In a speech in Washington at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies, he said he believed the deterioration of communication with China and Russia had created a higher risk of “rapid escalation to strategic conflict”.
He added: “The cold war’s two monolithic blocks of the USSR and Nato – though not without alarming bumps – were able to reach a shared understanding of doctrine that is today absent.
“Doctrine is opaque in Moscow and Beijing, let alone Pyongyang or Tehran.”
Additional reporting by Maria Ortega