ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Russia supports freedom of press regardless of the media’s affiliation or ideas, Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said on Wednesday.
Zakharova made the comments during a weekly press briefing in Moscow when asked by a reporter for comments on Kurdistan 24’s recent ban by the Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria.
“As you know, we support freedom of speech and freedom of opinion for all media, irrespective of their affiliation and ideas,” the Russian spokesperson said.
“We think that any media sources, media outlets that do not support terrorism should be given the ability to broadcast and to express their views,” she added.
“If they are not supporting terrorism, if they are not violating the laws of the countries that they operate in, they should enjoy all the respective rights and freedoms.”
Zakharova joined Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on Wednesday which called on the Kurdish-led administration in northeastern Syria to retract a recent ban on Kurdistan 24 and its journalists in the region.
On Monday, Kurdistan 24 Company for Media and Research issued a statement regarding the recent ban on its operations in the region, protesting the decision to shutter its office and calling the move “political.”
During the years of its operations in the area, “our team of journalists and staff had, on numerous occasions, put their lives in danger to cover the conflicts and the dire situation in the area, and became a reliable source for international media and agencies,” Kurdistan 24 said in its statement.
However, “in the last month or so, and based on decisions from some officials in the local administration of Western Kurdistan (Northern Syria), the network has been banned from working in the region. The officials have also seized and suspended our working license in the Syrian Kurdistan region.”
Editing by John J. Catherine