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Debates
Thursday, 19 December 2019 - Strasbourg Provisional edition

The Russian "Foreign Agents" Law
MPphoto
 

  Antony Hook, author. – Madam President, there’s nothing more integral to democracy than free speech, and nothing more important to Europe’s security than democracy in Europe and around Europe.

Our largest neighbour has taken another step that causes concern. Russia will require journalists, bloggers and others who share news to label themselves ‘foreign agents’ on pain of criminal punishment. The term is clearly pejorative and intended to make people say, ‘don’t believe me’, and will be used against those who criticise the government. This law must go.

We wish for friendship, not hostility, with Russia, but we see in Russia a regime that stifles criticism and without the frequent change of who is in power that characterises democracy. We have learned that states that suppress free speech become a danger to their own people and to their neighbours. We wish sincerely to cut back the jungle of mutual suspicion. On behalf of the Renew Group, I say please let us have more free speech, not less.

 
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