Russia Concerned by Baltic Nations’ Continuous Assault on Media Freedom, Foreign Ministry Says

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Wednesday that it worried about a growing disregard for the rights of journalists in Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia, Sputnik reports.

“We are alarmed that the rights of journalists in the Baltic states have been repeatedly violated,” the ministry said in a Facebook post, timed to the National Print Day in Russia.

It cited the Lithuanian parliament’s vote to block Sputnik and expel its chief editor in 2019, Estonia’s threats to press criminal charges against Sputnik staff in 2020 and arrests of the news agency’s journalists in Latvia in December as some of the most blatant examples of assault on the media.

“We consider these acts of aggression as a glaring example of trampling on the society’s democratic foundations, that is freedom of the media and of expression,” the ministry added.

Russia is also concerned about attacks on media workers in Ukraine, the ministry said. It pointed to continued censorship of the media and lack of progress in the probe into a string of journalist assassinations that rocked the country in recent years.

“Media workers in Ukraine continue to be subject to physical violence that is clearly stoked by officials in Kiev, who have been following the path of repressions against the media and journalists and crushing dissent,” it said.

Sputnik’s editor-in-chief Margarita Simonyan said earlier that Russia should respond to criminal charges pressed against Russian-speaking journalists.