LONDON, May 18 (Reuters) — Russia’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it was closing the Moscow bureau of Canada’s CBC and withdrawing visas and accreditation from the public broadcaster’s journalists after Ottawa banned Russian state TV station Russia Today (RT).
«With regret we continue to notice open attacks on the Russian media from the countries of the so-called collective West who call themselves civilised,» Maria Zakharova, Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman, told reporters.
«A decision has been taken to make retaliatory, I underscore retaliatory, measures in relation to the actions of Canada: the closure of the Moscow bureau of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, including the nullification of the accreditations and visas of their journalists.»
Zakharova said Ottawa had chosen what she cast as a «Russophobic» path including censorship of the media.Canada in March removed Russian state-owned channels RT News Today and RT France, the French version of RT.
In a statement, the CBC and its French language unit Radio Canada said they had operated a bureau in Moscow for 44 years and were «deeply disappointed» in the decision.
«To our knowledge, this is the first time in the history of CBC/Radio-Canada that a foreign government has forced the closure of one of our bureaus,» Chuck Thompson, head of public affairs at CBC, said.