Sarajevo, May 13 (EFE).- The European Alliance of News Agencies on Friday upheld a suspension against TASS over limits on press freedoms imposed by the Kremlin, although it decided against expelling the Russian state news agency.
The vote on the expulsion of the Russian state media outlet did not secure the qualified majority required to force the removal of an EANA member, sources from the alliance told Efe.
The expulsion proposal, which was submitted by the Polish news agency PAP, was put to a vote at an extraordinary EANA general assembly in Sarajevo that concluded Friday.
After the first vote, the proposal to maintain the provisional suspension of TASS’ membership in EANA was approved with 22 votes in favor, two against and two abstentions.
The assembly thereby confirmed the February decision by the board in the wake of the new legislation clamping down on journalistic freedoms passed by Russia.
The laws passed shortly after Russian president Vladimir Putin launched the invasion on February 24 punish the dissemination of any information about Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine that Moscow authorities consider fake.
EANA’s rotating president, Clemens Pig, said the suspension means that TASS cannot participate in EANA conferences or have communication with other agencies and is excluded from any decision-making, adding that the “suspension is more or less like exclusion from EANA.”
Secretary-general Alexandru Ion Giboi stated that the conditions for the return of TASS as a full fledged member would be “very severe.”
He pointed out that this is the first suspension of a member in the history of EANA.
“The suspension is for an indefinite period of time. I think I speak for all of us when I say that this unjust war must end,” he said.
He called on reporters to uphold the standards of journalism by “presenting the true facts.”
Pig also referred to the spread of fake news being “perhaps at the highest level in the history of reporting,” and encouraged news agencies to do more to introduce fact-checking tools in their work. EFE