Latest reactions to the war in Ukraine: update

posted on 16 January, 2023   (public)

A new package of sanctions by the EU and further measures taken by some media regulators

The EPRA Secretariat continues to monitor the various measures taken by media NRAs in the EPRA network and by the European Union.

Since our last news on 9 June 2022, here are some updates regarding measures taken in response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia:


Update on the sanctions at European Union’s level:

  • This summer, the EU has renewed the economic sanctions for further six months (until 31 January 2023). On 16 December 2022 a 9th package of economic and individual sanctions was adopted. As a consequence, four additional media outlets are added to the list of suspended broadcasting licences: NTV/NTV Mir, Rossiya 1, REN TV and Pervyi Kanal*.
    See also the IRIS Merlin Article
  • On 27 July 2022, the European Court of Justice confirmed the European Union's sanction on Russia Today France (Case T-125/22). According to the Court, the European Union has competence to take such decision based on Article 29 of the Treaty on European Union related to common foreign and security policy. The Court also judged that the decision complies with the European Union Law and the fundamental right of freedom of expression as the restriction has a legal basis, is necessary to achieve the objective to counter the threat to peace at Europe's borders and proportionate by its nature and length.
    See also the IRIS Merlin Article

    See also the Inforrm's Blog entry by Ronan Ó Fathaigh and Dirk Voorhoof

Measures taken by media regulators:

  • Moldovaon 16 December 2022, the Emergency Situations Commission (CSE) suspended the licence of Primul în Moldova, RTR Moldova, Accent TV, NTV Moldova, TV6, and Orhei TV to “protect the national informational space and prevent the risk of disinformation via the spreading of false information or attempts to manipulate public opinion, based on the list of individuals and legal entities subject to international sanctions, as well as multiple observations by the Audiovisual Council regarding the lack of correct information in the coverage of national events and the war in Ukraine.”  
    See also the IRIS Merlin Article
  • France: on 14 December 2022, Arcom issued a formal notice to Eutelsat to cease broadcasting three Russian channels, Rossiya 1, Perviy Kanal and NTV, whose programmes on the conflict in Ukraine contain repeated incitements to hatred and violence and numerous breaches of honesty in information.
These channels were broadcast not only in Russia, but also in the Ukrainian territories annexed by Russia. Therefore, according to the European Convention on Transfrontier Television, Arcom has a legal basis for requiring Eutelsat to stop broadcasting these channels (as decided by the Conseil d'Etat on 9 December 2022).

For more details, see the IRIS Merlin Article
Similarly, on 27 July, Arcom issued a formal notice to Eutelsat to cease broadcasting the Russian channel NTV Mir.
  • Kosovo**: on 26 February 2022, the Independent Media Commission has decided to order all distribution operators to temporarily remove from their broadcasting offer all channels from the Russian Federation.
  • Lithuania: the Radio and Television Commission addressed YouTube and Google with a request to remove the accounts of suspended Russian propaganda TV channels from their platforms while recommending that telecommunications operators providing retransmission services in Lithuania include the Ukrainian TV channels, the Czech TV channel Nastoyashcheye Vremya as well as the Russian independent media channels in their TV packages offered to their subscribers.
  • The Netherlands: the Commissariaat voor de Media has granted a licence to the Independent Russian channel TV Rain. Declared  as a "foreign agent" by the Kremlin, the war in Ukraine has forced the media to relocate its operation outside of Russia. Last December, the National Electronic Mass Media Council of Latvia revoked the licence of TV Rain on the basis of threats to national security. The CvdM has now granted a five-year licence to the media outlet.

Cooperation between media regulators:

  • Romania: In the context of the regional crisis and the conflict in Ukraine, the National Audiovisual Council of Romania organised in April 2022, the first virtual meeting of the eight Eastern Flank Audiovisual Regulators (EFAR8 - Estonia, Finland, Hungary, Lithuania, Latvia, Poland, Slovakia and Romania). It aims at strengthening the regulation in the audiovisual area, ensuring informational balance and protecting the role of journalists for media plurality.

Sources: European Council of the European Union / The Audiovisual Council of the Republic of Moldova / Arcom, FR / The Independent Media Commission, XK / The Radio and Television Commission of Lithuania / CvdM, NL/ The National Audiovisual Council, RO, The NYTimes / IRIS Merlin

* The ban covers all means of transmission and distribution in or directed at the EU member States. In line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights, these measures will not prevent those media outlets and their staff from carrying out activities in the EU other than broadcasting, e.g. research and interviews. As a reminder, the other media outlets already concerned are: Sputnik, Russia Today, Rossiya RTR / RTR Planeta, Rossiya 24 / Russia 24 and TV Centre International.

**This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.

See also