Announcing its decision to impose “new restrictive measures against Russian media outlets engaged in propaganda actions” in Russia’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, the Council of the European Union today filed a regulatory amendment that amounts to a ban on Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, two Russian state media outlets. The ban on Russia Today includes its subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain.
“The Russian Federation has engaged in a systematic, international campaign of media manipulation and distortion of facts in order to enhance its strategy of destabilization of its neighboring countries and of the Union and its Member States,” the document says. “In particular, the propaganda has repeatedly and consistently targeted European political parties, especially during election periods, as well as targeting civil society, asylum seekers, Russian ethnic minorities, gender minorities, and the functioning of democratic institutions in the Union and its Member States.”OJ_L_2022_065_FULL_EN_TXT
The ban, which takes immediate effect, includes broadcast mediums as well as “cable, satellite, IP-TV, internet service providers, internet video-sharing platforms or applications,” and thus extends to social media platforms. In light of the new regulation, Twitter joined YouTube, Google News, Meta (Facebook) and TikTok in banning RT and Sputnik across Europe. RT France’s Telegram channel was also deactivated Tuesday in France, according to Politico.
Justin Hendrix is CEO and Editor of Tech Policy Press, a new nonprofit media venture concerned with the intersection of technology and democracy. Previously, he was Executive Director of NYC Media Lab. He spent over a decade at The Economist in roles including Vice President, Business Development & Innovation. He is an associate research scientist and adjunct professor at NYU Tandon School of Engineering. Opinions expressed here are his own.