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Russia says Western reporters to be expelled if YouTube blocks foreign ministry briefings -Breaking


© Reuters. FILEPHOTO: Maria Zakharova (Russian Foreign Ministry) speaks during an annual news conference held by Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s Foreign Minister. Maxim Shipenkov/Pool via REUTERS

(Reuters) – Russia’s foreign ministry stated Thursday that journalists from Western countries would be expelled from Russia if YouTube blocked access to their spokeswoman briefings.

Maria Zakharova is a spokesperson for Russia’s foreign policy. She holds weekly briefings on the topic, and includes a discussion about the country’s military intervention into Ukraine.

According to TASS, she said that “We came in and explained to them that if you block any further briefings, one journalist from American media outlets goes home.”

“Another briefing was blocked. We will nominate a particular journalist or specific media outlet to go home.”

She made these comments after Russian lawmakers approved a bill that gave prosecutors power to seize foreign media agencies in Moscow from Western countries who have been hostile to Russian media. This measure was passed to respond to the closing of certain Russian state media outlets.

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Zakharova said Wednesday that Moscow has begun to implement measures against English language media, in response “unfriendly” foreign actions towards Russian news outlets. She did not give further information.

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, signed a law that could lead to a 15-year sentence for those who spread “fake news” about the military. This prompted some Western media outlets to withdraw their reporters from Russia. Other Western organizations, including Reuters have stayed and continue reporting.

This story refiles in order to correct typo in “briefing” in paragraph 2.