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Russian RT Accuses France's Macron Of Barring Staff


RT launched its French-language channel in December despite being branded a "propaganda" outlet for the Kremlin by officials in the United States, France, and other Western countries.

State-controlled Russian broadcaster RT says that French President Emmanuel Macron's administration has prevented journalists from its new French-language channel from covering two events in a week.

An RT journalist was turned away from a spokesman's briefing at the Elysee Palace in Paris on January 15, and the French president's team did not authorize RT France to attend a summit in Rome on January 10, the broadcaster said.

"President Macron, who protects the baguette instead of freedom of speech, should carefully reread the constitution of France," RT Editor in Chief Margarita Simonyan said on January 15.

She was referring to Macron's call last week for France's traditional baguette to be added to UNESCO's list of "intangible heritage."

RT launched its French-language channel in December despite being branded a "propaganda" outlet for the Kremlin by officials in the United States, France, and other Western countries.

Speaking alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin at a Paris press conference in May, Macron accused RT and Sputnik -- another state-supported outlet -- of being "agents of influence...and deceitful propaganda" that spread "defamatory untruths."

And during the 2017 election campaign in France, Macron accused Sputnik of a "smear campaign" after it reported comments from a conservative legislator accusing him of being a "U.S. agent" backed by a "gay lobby."

RT has been accused by U.S. intelligence agencies of being used by the Kremlin to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

French President Emmanuel Macron (right) and Russian President Vladimir Putin give a joint press conference in Versailles in May.
French President Emmanuel Macron (right) and Russian President Vladimir Putin give a joint press conference in Versailles in May.

RT, formerly known as Russia Today, also broadcasts in English, Spanish, and Arabic.

Russia Today was set up in the mid-2000s to counter what Putin saw as the dominance of U.S. and British media organizations, which he says have a pro-Western bias.

The channel is seen by its critics as giving a platform to conspiracy theorists as well as far-right or antiestablishment figures who attack what they portray as Western hypocrisy and corruption.

With reporting by RT and AFP

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