Dutch coalition challenges EU ‘censorship’ of Russian media

By Sofia Stuart Leeson
May 25, 2022

A Dutch coalition filed a petition on Tuesday calling on the EU Court of Justice to look into the sanctions Brussels imposed on Russian state media like Russia Today and Sputnik.

The Dutch coalition, which includes the Dutch Association of Journalists (NVJ) and civil rights organisation Bits of Freedom, jointly filed the petition on Tuesday (24 May).

On 2 March, the EU imposed sanctions on Russian state media in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

The Freedom of Information Coalition (FOIC) believes that the suspension of Russian state media was done “in haste.”

“This raises questions about our rule of law and what we stand for as a society,” they said, NL Times reported.

The signatories argue that the decision to enforce the ban was political and took place with no judicial review. Such decisions should rest with independent judges, not government, they added.

“This was a political decision, without judicial review,” Bits of Freedom advisor, Rejo Zenger, told NL Times. “The decision to make information inaccessible should not rest with our heads of government but with independent judges.”

While the coalition acknowledges that these media channels are not objective, they argue that censorship is not the answer. General Secretary Thomas Bruning from NVJ said, “disinformation should not be combated with censorship in a constitutional state.”

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