By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS – Russian state-controlled media outlets RT and Sputnik will be banned in the European Union with immediate effect for systematic disinformation over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the 27-country bloc said on Wednesday in an unprecedented move.
The sanction means EU operators will be prohibited from broadcasting, facilitating or otherwise contributing to the dissemination of any RT and Sputnik content.
Broadcasting licences or authorisation, transmission and distribution arrangements between the two companies and their EU counterparts will also be suspended.
The ban applies to RT’s English unit and operations in Britain, Germany, France and Spain.
“Systematic information manipulation and disinformation by the Kremlin is applied as an operational tool in its assault on Ukraine,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement. “It is also a significant and direct threat to the Union’s public order and security.”
Facebook owner Meta, Alphabet Inc’s Google, YouTube and TikTok are already blocking access to RT and Sputnik in the EU. Twitter has said it will comply with the EU ban.
(This story corrects to remove extra word from headline)