1. The European Union is deeply concerned that the Russian authorities
continue to restrict the work of Russian independent media outlets, and of
individual journalists and other media workers and to hinder the work of
human rights defenders, thus confirming a negative pattern of a systematic
crackdown on the human rights and freedoms that are enshrined in the
Russian constitution. Attacks and undue restrictions - both online and offline -
that target journalists, other media actors and human rights defenders, are
both a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and a threat
against our common security.
2. The Russian authorities recently decided to ban the German public
international broadcaster Deutsche Welle from broadcasting in Russia, to
revoke the accreditation of its employees, to initiate the procedure to
designate it as a ”foreign agent”, and to close its office in Moscow. We expect
the authorities of the Russian Federation to revoke the above decisions.
3. In addition, the state media regulator Roskomnadzor requested Russian news
outlets to remove previously published news stories with references to anticorruption investigations by the opposition politician Alexei Navalny and his network. On 20 December 2021, a court in the Moscow region ruled to restrict access to the website of OVD-Info, an independent media and human rights advocacy project. These steps add to our concerns about the continued attempts to shrink the space for civil society, critical voices, and independent media in the country, including through the “foreign agent” law.
4. We express our deep concern about the abduction of Zarema Musaeva,
mother of a Chechen lawyer and anti-torture activist Abubakar Yangulbaev, a death threat made by a high ranking Russian politician against his family
members, as well as about threats made by the head of the Chechen Republic
against media outlets TV Dozhd and Novaya Gazeta, Novaya Gazeta’s
correspondent Elena Milashina, and the founder of the Committee Against
Torture, Igor Kalyapin.
5. We stand in solidarity with those speaking up for human rights and
fundamental freedoms in Russia and elsewhere. Along with the OSCE
Representative on Freedom of the Media, we call on the Russian authorities to
reconsider their approach and ensure that journalists and media actors can
continue fulfilling their important societal role. We also call on Russia to fully
implement all OSCE commitments and international obligations related to
human rights and fundamental freedoms.
The Candidate Countries REPUBLIC of NORTH MACEDONIA*, MONTENEGRO*,
and ALBANIA*, the EFTA countries ICELAND and NORWAY, members of the
European Economic Area, as well as UKRAINE and GEORGIA align themselves
with this statement.
* Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania continue to be part of
the Stabilisation and Association Process.