Interfax: Russian minister says no tit-for-tat response in media war

Satellite Dishes

(Interfax – October 18, 2017)

Russia’s Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov has said Russia should not take analogous retaliatory measures in response to any action by the American authorities regarding Moscow’s English-language station RT, including any bans, privately-owned Russian news agency Interfax reported on 18 October.

“If our colleagues [USA] take any unilateral steps, of course Russia will prepare some reply. And I think we don’t need to act the same way and do the same as is being done by our colleagues,” he said. “If the Russian Federation does respond, it will definitely not be symmetrical,” he added.

He said it was “disgraceful to use rhetoric in this manner, [about] banning media” and that “we absolutely do not have to take on such [American] base-level standards of behaviour”.

One should not overestimate the role of the American media plays in Russia, the minister said. “We don’t need to repeat after our American colleagues, who think that a hundred bloggers on Twitter affected the US elections, or that our company RT had,” he said.

Nikiforov said there was an audience for American media in Russia, but it was insignificantly small.

Nikiforov’s remarks come in the wake of warnings from the US authorities that they will classify RT as a foreign agent in the US, with attendant restrictions on its operations there (see BBCM TV news roundup of 5 Oct 17). The Russian authorities have been considering their possible responses – Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova warned recently that Moscow would respond to any such move by Washington (see BBCM report “Russian media regulator warns CNN over coverage” of 29 Sep 17).

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