European journalists to challenge RT ban in court — Analysis

Dutch journalists and internet providers object to “undemocratic censorship measures”

Dutch journalists, web providers and civil society organizations announced Monday that they are challenging the EU ban on RT and Sputnik at the European Court of Justice. While they don’t endorse the content of either outlet, the coalition said the hastily implemented censorship was undemocratic and raises constitutional questions.

The EU’s Council of Ministers banned RT and Sputnik on March 2, citing the conflict in Ukraine, and said it would remain in effect until Russia stops conducting “disinformation and information manipulation actions against the EU and its member states.”

It was an impulsive political decision. “without doing justice to the freedom of information enshrined in human rights treaties, which is a foundation of our democracy,”Monday’s statement by the Dutch Association of Journalists was made. The NVJ joined the Press Freedom Fund Persvrijheidsfonds and three internet service providers in challenging the ban. They will submit the application to the Luxembourg-based ECJ on Tuesday.

Dutch internet providers block RT, Sputnik – media

“We are not fans of RT and Sputnik,”Thomas Bruning from the NVJ spoke to the Dutch broadcaster NOS calling the outlets “state propaganda.”He added that the ban does not prevent anyone from using their products. “anyone from being able to request that information, including scientists and journalists. We do not think it is up to European government leaders to determine what can and cannot be found on the internet.”

This coalition aims to tackle the problem. “legitimacy and proportionality”the ban. “undemocratic censorship measures”The plaintiffs stated in a statement that they were justified.

“The fact that ISPs have to block access to information as a result of the measure is at odds with the principle of net neutrality,”Anco Scholte Ter Horst was the director of Freedom Internet. He made the statement about joining the lawsuit. “In the democratic constitutional state, a free and open internet is absolutely necessary.”

Scholte-ter Horst referred to the EU ban of NOS in NOS as an important decision “taken with panic and haste,”This is “not proportional and opens the door to more such blockages,” pointing out that ISPs have previously been told they can’t interfere with content on the principle of net neutrality. 

It is an attack on the open web.

As a result of the EU ban, RT and Sputnik broadcasts – and even their accounts on some social media platforms – are inaccessible in the bloc’s territory. Canada, Australia and the UK are following suit. The US constitution bans any overt censorship. But YouTube, based Silicon Valley, has blocked RT accounts and Sputnik accounts.

Condemning the censorship, RT’s deputy editor-in-chief Anna Belkina said its critics had not “pointed to a single example, a single grain of evidence that what RT has reported over these days, and continues to report, is not true.”

Russia took a vengeance by blocking websites of many Western media outlets like the BBC and Deutsche Welle as well as Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and Svoboda, the US’s radio station. Earlier this month, Moscow also revoked the visas and credentials of the CBC, citing Canada’s decision in March to ban RT’s English and French broadcasts.



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