Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)
Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Maria Zakharova’s answer to a media question on the Sputnik news agency in Estonia
Question: What can you say about the recent statement by Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu about Tallinn using “EU sanctions” against Sputnik news agency that he made after the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media Harlem Desir urged Estonia to refrain from imposing unnecessary restrictions?
Maria Zakharova: We consider the fact that Estonia’s leaders rejected the recommendations of Harlem Desir, the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, regarding the Sputnik news agency in Estonia very disquieting. We believe this is unacceptable and absolutely unreasonable to call the agency bureau an "information operations unit."
Once again, Estonia denied the news agency, which is accredited in the country according to the established rules and conducts its activities in accordance with generally accepted journalistic standards, the right to be called media. This begs the question: on what basis? If official Tallinn has facts to confirm Sputnik’s inconsistency with these purported goals, let it present them publicly. If, as always, such facts are not available, they should apologise for slander.
Estonia’s actions represent a systematic provocation against the Russian media and an act of undermining the existing international legal guarantees of journalistic activities seeking to erode the status of a media outlet and to turn it into an object of direct political pressure.