By Foo Yun Chee
BRUSSELS, July 27 (Reuters) – State-controlled media outlet Russia Today on Wednesday lost its court fight against a European Union ban imposed in March due to its systematic disinformation over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Europe’s second highest court upheld the EU decision.
“The Grand Chamber of the General Court dismisses RT France’s application for annulment of acts of the Council, adopted following the outbreak of the war in Ukraine, temporarily prohibiting that organisation from broadcasting content,” the Luxembourg-based General Court said.
Judges endorsed the latitude of the EU’s council of government heads to take restrictive measures in this field and dismissed Russia Today’s arguments that the ban curtailed its freedom of expression.
“The limitations on RT France’s freedom of expression which the restrictive measures at issue are liable to have are proportionate, inasmuch as they are appropriate and necessary to the aims pursued,” judges said in their ruling.
“The Court also finds that those measures do not disproportionately infringe the essential content of RT France’s freedom to conduct a business since they are temporary and reversible,” they said.
The EU sanction, which applies to RT News Today‘s English unit and operations in Britain, Germany, France and Spain, means RT content cannot be broadcast or disseminated by EU operators.
The ban includes the suspension of RT’s broadcasting licences and authorisation, transmission and distribution arrangements with its EU counterparts.
Russia Today can appeal on matters of law to the Court of Justice of the European Union, the EU’s highest.
The case is T-125/22.(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee Editing by Mark Heinrich)
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