Russia Threatens Retaliation Against US Journalists – The Organization for World Peace
The Russian government has threatened to withdraw the accreditation of American news agencies in Russia if the United States does not agree to better treat Russian journalists. Despite criticism from Russia, the United States continued to grant visas to qualified journalists and did not revoke any foreign press letters already held by Russian journalists.
Ned Price, a State Department spokesman, told reporters that “the Russians keep doing a false equivalence. The Russian government fundamentally and deliberately ignores what it means to have a free press, as evidenced by the blocking or banning of almost all independent Russian media seeking to report inside their country. According to TASS, the threats are a response to the US blocking the bank accounts of Russian journalists. Zakharova said that “if you are not ready to unblock the development of the situation concerning Russian journalists and mass media, we will be forced to resort to reciprocal measures with regard to your American journalists”. Price, in turn, said the Russian government “is engaged in an all-out assault on media freedom, access to information and truth” in making the threat.
Clearly, neither party believes its foreign press is treated fairly by the other’s government, and both create a more hostile environment for global communication. Disagreements between governments should not be taken against civilians trying to do their jobs. This is especially true in the case of journalists, as their contribution to global communication and local understanding of events is vital. Threatening tit for tat reprisals against journalists in Russia is a clear sign of contempt for their importance and a step away from peaceful negotiation. Even given Russia’s view of US actions, the reciprocity of hostility only makes the situation worse, putting more civilians at risk and risking harsher action from both sides.
Maria Zakharova, head of information and press at the Russian Foreign Ministry, summoned journalists and representatives of American media companies to a meeting during which they were to learn the “consequences of what Russia calls hostile treatment of Russian media working in the United States,” according to NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO. In Russia, the government has also been hostile to its own national journalists, creating laws on terms that can be used in media coverage and jailing both journalists and citizens who give interviews that go against of the official government narrative.
Given Russia’s historic treatment of journalists, this action comes as no surprise, but it is nonetheless unreasonable. Rather than seeing the only solution to international disputes as eye-to-eye retaliation, governments should work together to achieve what each of them desires, especially in situations like these where the two are not mutually exclusive. . Instead of holding innocent civilians hostage to reach negotiations, these discussions should focus on those who are already injured and how their situation can be improved.