News content of Sputnik, RT France to be blocked in France: Minister
The block will come into force within a new legal framework intended to protect democracy and promote security of digital space, the Minister for Digital Transition and Telecommunications Jean-Noel Barrot noted.
French Minister for Digital Transition and Telecommunications Jean-Noel Barrot said on Wednesday that France will block websites that share news contents of sanctioned media outlets, including RT France and Sputnik.
The block will come into force under a new law intended to protect democracy and promote the security of digital space, he noted.
"As part of measures to protect democracy, we will also begin blocking websites that share the content of media under international sanctions like the ones the EU imposed against RT France and Sputnik. This measure will complement our existing tools to fight the propaganda of the enemies of democracy," Barrot told a briefing after a cabinet meeting.
The measure targets media outlets that allegedly spread disinformation, the minister said, noting that the law will enable more powers to be channeled to France's media regulator, Arcom, in order to implement restrictive measures against media.
The draft law is scheduled to be submitted to the Senate in early July.
In March 2022, the EU imposed sanctions on Russian state-affiliated news outlets, including RT and Sputnik, with the aim of containing what it called disinformation being spread by the Russian government about the conflict in Ukraine.
However, RT France continued to carry out its operations in Paris and broadcasted its content in African francophone countries.
The news outlet also remained available on several online platforms such as Odysee.
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Earlier this year in January, Le Monde reported that the French version of Russia Today, known as RT France, had its assets frozen by the government of France in light of the ninth package of sanctions against Russia.
"All the funds in [our] account are frozen at the request of the General Directorate of the Treasury," wrote the outlet's chief Xenia Fedorova in an internal note seen by Le Monde, adding that the news agency is in complete incapacity to carry on activities "in the same conditions as before" since it is no longer able to pay salaries and contractors.
A day later, Moscow vowed to retaliate against French media in Russia after RT France's bank accounts were frozen.
The Russian Foreign Ministry warned that unless the authorities stop "terrorizing" Russian journalists, France would "remember" these measures.
RT France CEO Xenia Fedorova Fedorova explained that when they approached the bank for clarification, they were directed to the order of the authorities.
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