RussiaFebruary 6 2024, 8:37 am

Kremlin Backed Media Easily Accessible in EU Despite Bans

Per­sis­tent Access: RT and Sput­nik Cir­cum­vent EU Bans

On 3 Feb­ru­ary 2024, RFE/RL report­ed that, despite the Euro­pean Coun­cil’s sus­pen­sion of their web­sites fol­low­ing Rus­si­a’s inva­sion of Ukraine in 2022, the Krem­lin-backed media out­lets RT and Sput­nik remain acces­si­ble with­in the Euro­pean Union, includ­ing inside the Euro­pean Com­mis­sion and the Euro­pean Coun­cil build­ings. This access per­sists with­out the need for VPNs or oth­er cir­cum­ven­tion tools, in lan­guages includ­ing Eng­lish, French, Ger­man, Ser­bian, Span­ish, and Ara­bic. The ease of access across the EU high­lights chal­lenges in enforc­ing the sanc­tions aimed at curb­ing Russ­ian pro­pa­gan­da. The Euro­pean Com­mis­sion’s spokesper­son point­ed out that the enforce­ment depends on indi­vid­ual EU mem­ber states and their ser­vice providers. In Ser­bia, a notable case, RT and Sput­nik oper­ate freely, reflect­ing Ser­bia’s refusal to align with EU sanc­tions against Rus­sia. The sit­u­a­tion under­scores the com­plex­i­ties of imple­ment­ing EU-wide mea­sures and the ongo­ing strug­gle to coun­ter­act dis­in­for­ma­tion and pro­pa­gan­da efforts by state-backed Russ­ian media. The EU’s attempts to counter Russ­ian influ­ence, through ini­tia­tives like the EUvs­Dis­in­fo project, face sig­nif­i­cant hur­dles in ensur­ing com­pli­ance and effec­tive­ness across mem­ber states.

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