Shortly after the Russian military invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, the European Union announced a series of sanctions to hit the Putin regime. One of these measures is the blocking in the EU of the Russian state media RT (Russia Today) and Sputnik (link). Also the transmission or facilitation of the programmes or content of RT and Sputnik is banned, while the ban also affects journalistic reporting by European media outlets. On 4 May 2022 (link) the EU announced that it would extend the ban on three other state-controlled Russian media outlets, as part of the sixth package of sanctions against Russia. The European Federation of Journalists (EFJ) has stronlgy opposed the measure from a journalistic perspective (link). More recently a coalition of Internet Providers in the Netherlands, supported by the Association of Journalists (NVJ) and the civil rights organization Bits of Freedom, has introduced a request at the Luxembourg General Court of the EU for the annulment of the ban (link, link and link).
In a blog published on Inforrm’s Blog The International Forum for Responsible Media Blog (link) and on the Columbia University Freedom of Expression website (link) we have analysed the legal justification of the EU-ban against the Russian state-media. The blog concludes: “By imposing a ban against some Russian media in all EU-member states, the EU Council and Commission might have opened a box of Pandora to the detriment of its own crucial values of democracy, the rule of law and media freedom” (link).