Croatia's Electronic Media Agency (AEM) has sent the Croatian Regulatory Authority for Network Industries the EU regulation banning the broadcasting of content from Russia Today and Sputnik by cable, satellite, IPTV, platforms, websites, and apps.
“We invite you to submit this information and decision from the Council of the EU to all operators for implementation,” AEM director Josip Popovac said in a letter on Wednesday.
The reaction by the Croatian media regulator came after the European Union imposed sanctions, effective from today, on the two state-owned Russian media outlets for manipulating information and spreading Russian propaganda about the attack on Ukraine.
“In this time of war, words matter. We are witnessing massive propaganda and disinformation over this outrageous attack on a free and independent country. We will not let Kremlin apologists pour their toxic lies justifying Putin’s war or sow the seeds of division in our Union,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.
Both outlets are part of a coordinated information manipulation effort, including disinformation, as documented since 2015 by the European External Action Service’s East StratCom Task Force, the Commission said.
Cooperation with and between the independent media regulators within the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) is crucial in ensuring swift implementation of the measures by the operators, it added.
Some of the regulators have already taken concrete actions restricting Russian assets involved in disinformation and information manipulation, for example in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland, while Germany has banned the broadcasting of programming by Russia Today because it does not have a licence.
“In view of the gravity of the situation, and in response to Russia’s actions destabilising the situation in Ukraine, it is necessary and consistent with fundamental rights and freedoms to introduce further restrictive measures and to suspend the broadcasting activities of Russia Today and Sputnik in or directed at the EU,” the European Commission said.
“All relevant licences, authorisations and distribution arrangements are suspended. These measures are covering all EU Member States and are directly applicable immediately.”