MOSCOW, Russia – Russia’s foreign ministry on Friday, February cautioned Western journalists that if they behaved unprofessionally and treated Russia or its people in a rude way then they would not be tolerated.
President Vladimir Putin signed a law in March imposing a jail term of up to 15 years for spreading intentionally “fake” news about the military, prompting some Western media to pull their journalists out of Russia.
Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said that when senior Western correspondents met Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Moscow this week, some had complained about their conditions, including the issuance of visas and accreditation.
“How many years were they provided with conditions that were absolutely favourable,” Zakharova told reporters.
“That is all over now. Now they will live in a new way,” Zakharova said. “If they do their job professionally, they will work; if not, then foreign journalists will not work.”
“If they treat us, our country and our people rudely, then they are simply not welcome here.”
Russian officials say the Western media have reported on the war in Ukraine in a deeply one-sided way, ignoring the roots of the conflict and siding openly with Ukraine while displaying open and unconscious racism against Russians.
Russia has blocked Facebook and Twitter while labelling some Russian reporters as foreign agents. Some of Russia’s top journalists have left the country.
In the Press Freedom Index, a ranking of press freedom compiled and published by Reporters Without Borders, Russia is ranked 155 out of 180 countries, just above Afghanistan and Pakistan. Norway is ranked first.
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