EU court upholds ban on Russia’s RT France

In this Jan 9, 2018 photo, Xenia Fedorova, chief executive of RT France, attends an interview with the Associated Press in Paris. (FRANCOIS MORI / AP)

BRUSSELS – The European Court of Justice (ECJ) on Wednesday rejected a request by Russian state news network RT (Russia Today) France to lift a broadcasting ban it is subjected to under the sanctions imposed by the European Union on Russia in response to Russia’s special military operation in Ukraine.

"The EU General Court dismisses Russia Today France's application for annulment of the EU Council's acts," the ECJ said on Twitter.

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Following the outbreak of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on Feb 24, 2022, the EU Council adopted several sets of sanctions against Russia. These include broadcasting bans in the EU targeting Russian media including RT France which the EU considers spreading disinformation.

In its ruling, the ECJ said the ban was a "proportionate" measure, and "necessary to the aims pursued" 

The bans have been effective since March 2. RT France went to court to contest them on March 8.

Asking for the annulment of the Council's sanctions, RT France argued that the decision goes against freedom of speech and information, the right to defend oneself, freedom of entrepreneurship, and the principle of non-discrimination based on one's nationality.

In its ruling, the ECJ said the ban was a "proportionate" measure, and "necessary to the aims pursued." 

It also ruled that RT France's freedom of entrepreneurship is not harmed, as the measures are temporary and reversible.

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"This prohibition shows that the judiciary of the EU cannot or does not want to oppose political power. European politicians have chosen a path against the values on which Europe was based, such as freedom of expression and diversity of opinion," tweeted Xenia Fedorova, president of RT France.