Russia accuses France 24 TV of breaking media law


France 24 broadcasts in English on Russian satellite packages. (Photo: AFP)

Russia's state media regulator on Friday accused television channel France 24 of violating the country's media laws, after Paris issued a warning to the French arm of Kremlin-backed broadcaster RT.

"As part of its control and supervision activity in the media, Roskomnadzor identified a violation of media law 19.1 by France 24 in Russia," the watchdog said in a statement.

The law in question bans foreigners from holding more than a 20-percent stake in Russian media outlets, forcing them to be controlled by local legal entities.

France 24 broadcasts in English on Russian satellite packages.

"It was established that the editorial activity of the channel is under the control of a foreign legal entity, which is a violation of media law 19.1," the Russian watchdog said.

Roskomnadzor said it had sent a letter to the channel as a "reminder about the inadmissibility of violating laws of the Russian Federation."

The letter, it added, informed the channel that a media organisation could be shut down if laws were violated.

A France 24 spokesman said the channel had not received anything from the Russian authorities.

"We respect the laws of the countries in which we broadcast," he added.

On Thursday France's broadcasting regulator issued a warning to the French arm of the state-funded Russian channel RT over a news report which dubbed over the voices of Syrian civilians with words they had not said.

France's Audiovisual Council (CSA) accused the channel, which has already drawn the ire of President Emmanuel Macron, of "failures of honesty, rigour of information and diversity of points of view".

RT chief editor Margarita Simonyan called the Roskomnadzor letter a retaliatory measure.

"Russia is a big country," Simonyan was quoted as saying by state news agency RIA Novosti.

"Unlike many, we can afford such a luxury as tit-for-tat measures."

RT is considered by the United States to be a pro-Kremlin propaganda outlet. It has faced multiple warnings from Britain's media regulator Ofcom over reports on Syria and Ukraine, where Kiev and the West say Russian forces are helping separatists fight against Ukrainian troops.