Judge tosses RT’s appeal to overturn a European Union ban

The European Union’s General Court on Wednesday rejected a Russian state-sponsored broadcaster’s appeal of a temporary ban from EU airwaves in light of a Russian “propaganda campaign” seeking to justify the country’s invasion of Ukraine. 

The Council of the European Union, one of the legislative bodies of the European Parliament, adopted measures in March, shortly after the invasion began, to prohibit certain media outlets from broadcasting within or to the EU until July 31, according to the ruling

The council argued that Russia has targeted civil society in the EU and neighboring countries by “grievously distorting and manipulating the facts” of the conflict through certain media outlets under the direct or indirect control of the Russian government. 

RT France, the French version of the state-run Russian channel RT, filed the appeal to remove the ban, but the court rejected its arguments. 

The ruling states that the “immediate implementation” of a ban designed to limit the spread of propaganda in support of military aggression was necessary for the ban’s effectiveness. It also states that the council met conditions that the law has established for when freedom of expression can be limited. 

The court found that the council cited “concrete, precise and consistent” evidence that RT France actively supported Russian aggression toward Ukraine before the invasion and justified it in the aftermath. 

The ruling states that the measures the council has implemented do not infringe on RT France’s freedom to conduct a business because they are temporary and reversible. 

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters that the Russian government will take “similar measures of pressure” against Western news outlets operating in Russia, multiple outlets reported. 

He said he hoped the channel could find loopholes to continue broadcasting. 

Bloomberg reported that RT said it will appeal the ruling, which it said is an “unprecedented and inadmissible attack” on the principle of free expression.