Le secrétaire d’État Antony J. Blinken a rencontré aujourd’hui la PDG par intérim de l’U.S. Agency for Global Media, Kelu Chao, pour discuter du rôle crucial que jouent les médias libres et indépendants dans la préservation et la promotion des principes démocratiques dans le monde entier.

Le secrétaire Blinken a exprimé son solide soutien aux réseaux affiliés à l’USAGM à travers le monde, notamment Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), Voice of America (VOA), Middle East Broadcasting Network (MBN) et Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB).

L’indépendance éditoriale de ces réseaux est particulièrement importante dans les pays où les médias sont confrontés à la répression, notamment lorsque le journalisme indépendant est censuré ou lorsque la liberté d’expression est limitée ou sanctionnée.

Le secrétaire [d’État] et la PDG par intérim Chao ont fait part de leurs vives inquiétudes quant au fait que le gouvernement russe continue de restreindre la liberté des médias. Ils ont noté que Moscou a récemment imposé des exigences invasives en matière de traçage ainsi que des amendes, dont des sanctions pénales potentielles pour RFE/RL et VOA en Russie, afin de chasser RFE/RL de Russie et de réduire au silence les reportages indépendants.

U.S. Agency for Global Media Communiqué

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Agency for Global Media (USAGM) Acting CEO Kelu Chao met today with Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and discussed the vital role that USAGM networks and other independent media play in supporting a free press as a cornerstone of democracy around the world.

During the meeting, Secretary Blinken expressed his strong support for USAGM’s global networks, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), Radio Free Asia (RFA), the Voice of America (VOA), the Middle East Broadcasting Networks (MBN), and the Office of Cuba Broadcasting (OCB), as well as for the Open Technology Fund (OTF), which offers unfettered, secure access to USAGM content and develops tools and technology to bolster internet freedom.

The two also discussed the Kremlin’s efforts to restrict media freedom and its recently imposed invasive labeling requirements.

“The Secretary agreed that the Russian government’s efforts to silence independent journalism only harm the citizens it is meant to serve,” Acting CEO Chao said.

Russia’s revised “foreign agent” law requires designated news organizations in Russia that receive foreign funding to prominently label all content, including social media, as foreign agent-produced. The first organizations so designated by the Russian Ministry of Justice were the USAGM-funded public service media outlets RFE/RL and VOA.

The Russian law, originally passed in 2012 and amended in 2020 to include individual journalists, also levies fines on these outlets. Given that USAGM’s legislatively mandated firewall prohibits its networks from accepting editorial direction from the U.S. government, RFE/RL and VOA refuse to label their content in such a wholly inaccurate manner.

In filing more almost 400 violations of “foreign agent” regulations, the Kremlin has specifically targeted nine of RFE/RL’s reporting projects : Radio Liberty, its main service for Russia ; the Current Time 24/7 television and digital network serving a global Russian-speaking audience ; the regional reporting projects North.Realities, Siberia.Realities, Caucasus.Realities, Idel.Realities, and Crimea.Realities ; the Tatar-Bashkir Service ; and the fact-checking website Factograph.info. Additionally, in late December, the Kremlin named three RFE/RL freelance reporters as individual “foreign agent” journalists.

The Committee to Protect Journalists said Russia should repeal the foreign agent law and “ensure that the country’s regulator is not used to censure journalists and harass and threaten media organizations.” Amnesty International said Russia’s foreign agent law “further erodes freedom of expression and association” in that country.