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April 10, 2014 20:21

Kremlin human rights adviser defends Moscow's taking VOA off air

MOSCOW. April 10 (Interfax) - A member of the Human Rights Council, a Kremlin advisory body, has defended Moscow's decision not to renew a contract to broadcast Voice of America in Russia.

"Russian officials were not proactive in this situation. In this information war, which hasn't been unleashed by Russia, it's Moscow that's been behaving in a gentlemanly way, and all its actions have been in tune with modern forms of behavior in such situations," Igor Borisov told Interfax on Thursday.

"As for the legal side of the issue, one must above all use accurate terms because, from the point of view of the rights of Voice of America, it is not a case of broadcasting having been terminated but a case of non-extension of a contract that has expired," Borisov said.

He then tried to turn the tables on the U.S. government. "Let's recall the recent events where the American authorities were pressuring U.S. nationals who were working at the RT [Russian Today television] channel. Production editors, newsreaders were under personal pressure then. Russia made no aggressive reaction to that," Borisov said.

He slammed the U.S. government for putting the head of Russian state media conglomerate Rossiya Segodnya, Dmitry Kiselyov, on the United States' list of Russians subject to American sanctions.

"It is Dmitry Kiselyov, who showed no activity on the issue of extension of the contract with Voice of America, that was put on the 'entry-ban' list. In other words, a specific individual has had his rights from the point of view of freedom of movement and freedom of obtaining information restricted de facto and de jure. So with regard to any actions on his part, I would suggest that the American gentlemen recall the old Russian adage, 'Don't blame the looking glass if you have an ugly mug,'" Borisov said.

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(Our editorial staff can be reached at eng.editors@interfax.ru)

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