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Dutch Association of Journalists, Other Groups to Challenge EU's RT, Sputnik Ban in European Court

© Sputnik / Konstantin Chalabov / Go to the mediabankSputnik
Sputnik  - Sputnik International, 1920, 23.05.2022
The European Union restricted access to Sputnik and RT in March in the wake of Russia's special military operation in Ukraine.
The Dutch Association of Journalists, along with several other organisations, plans to challenge the EU's ban on Sputnik and RT in the European Court.

"A group of providers and organisations advocating freedom of the internet and the press will ask the European Court of Justice to rule on a pan-European blockade of the Russian state media RT and Sputnik. The application will be submitted to the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg on May 24," the association's statement read.

According to the statement, the decision to ban Sputnik and RT is "far-reaching" and does not accord with the freedom of information principles that are "a foundation of our democracy".

"Disinformation should not be battled with the use of censorship in a constitutional state", explained Thomas Bruning, the association's general secretary.

Among the plaintiffs is Anco Scholte ter Horst, director of the internet service provider Freedom Internet, who argued that "the fact that Internet Service Providers have to block access to information as a result of the measure is at odds with the principle of net neutrality."

"In the democratic constitutional state, a free and open internet is absolutely necessary," Scholte ter Horst said.

Another organisation demanding that the European Court rules on the ban of Sputnik and RT is Bits of Freedom, with its representative Rejo Zenger stating that the decision to block Russian media was "political" and lacked judicial review.
"The decision to make information inaccessible should not be in the hands of our government leaders, but that of independent judges," Zenger added.
In early March, the European Union suspended the broadcasting of several Russian media outlets as part of the sanctions against Russia for its military operation in Ukraine. Sputnik, RT and their subsidiaries came under the ban. The TikTok and Instagram* accounts of these Russian outlets have already ceased functioning in the EU.
*Instagram is banned in Russia over extremist activities
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