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Russia bans 29 UK journalists, including Guardian correspondents | press freedom

Russia has banned 29 members of the British media, including five Guardian journalists, from entering the country, the foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

Moscow said the sweeping action was a response to western sanctions and the “spreading of false information about Russia”, as well as “anti-Russian actions of the British government”.

“The British journalists included in the list are involved in the deliberate dissemination of false and one-sided information about Russia and events in Ukraine and Donbas,” the ministry said in a statement.

Twenty individuals it described as “associated with the defense complex”, including military figures, senior aerospace figures and MPs, were also banned.

Among the banned journalists are the Guardian correspondents Shaun Walker, Luke Harding, Emma Graham-Harrison and Peter Beaumont, as well as Katharine Viner, the editor-in-chief of the Guardian.

British journalists working for the BBC, Sunday Times, the Daily Mail, the Independent, Daily Telegraph, Sky News and a number of other outlets have also been banned. The editors-in-chief of the Times, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Independent were also listed.

A Guardian spokesperson said: “This is a disappointing move by the Russian government and a bad day for press freedom. Trusted, accurate journalism is more important now than ever, and despite this decision we will continue to report robustly on Russia and on its invasion of Ukraine.”

Russia has launched an unprecedented crackdown on Russian and foreign independent news outlets since its 24 February invasion of Ukraine, as well as on foreign social media networks. Legislation was introduced soon after the war began to criminalize media outlets that spread “false information” about the Russian army.

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A number of media groups stopped operating in Russia as a result, with the draconian law in effect threatening to punish independent journalism with prison sentences of up to 15 years. Russia has also blocked access to several foreign news organisations’ websites, including the BBC and Deutsche Welle.

Russia warned US news organizations earlier this month they were being stripped of their accreditation unless the treatment of Russian journalists risks in the US improved.

“Work on expanding the Russian “stop list” will continue,” the statement said.

Among those banned on the second part of the list were the UK minister of state for defense procurement, Jeremy Quin, and Air Chief Marshal Mike Wigston.

The full list is:
Shaun Walker, Guardian correspondent; With Coughlin, Daily Telegraph columnist; Stuart Ramsay, chief correspondent, Sky News; James Rothwell, Daily Telegraph journalist;
John Witherow, editor-in-chief, the Times; Chris Evans, editor-in-chief, the Daily Telegraph; Katharine Viner, editor-in-chief, the Guardian;
Richard Sharp, chair of the BBC board of governors; Timothy Davie, CEO of the BBC; Clive Myrie, BBC correspondent and news presenter; Orla Guerin, BBC correspondent; Nick Robinson, BBC presenter; Paul Adams, BBC correspondent; Nick Beake, BBC correspondent; Alexander Thomson, Channel 4 News correspondent and presenter; Dan Rivers, ITV correspondent;
Peter Beaumont, Guardian correspondent; Emma Graham-Harrison, Guardian correspondent; Sophy Ridge, journalist and Sky News presenter; Catherine Newman, journalist and host of Channel 4 News; Edward Verity, editor-in-chief, Daily Mail; Christian Broughton, editor-in-chief, the Independent; Larisa Brown, military news editor, the Times; Mark Galeotti, political scientist;
Joseph Barnes, Daily Telegraph correspondent; Gideon Rachman, Financial Times correspondent; Luke Harding, Guardian correspondent; Dominic Lawson, Sunday Times and Daily Mail columnist; Lawrence Freedman, Sunday Times columnist.

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Jeremy Quin, minister of state for defense procurement; Leo Docherty, under secretary of defence; Benjamin Key, commander of the Royal Navy, chief of staff of the Royal Navy; Mike Wigston, RAF commander; Robert Magowan, deputy chief, UK strategic command; Charles Stickland, commander, joint operations, UK armed forces;
Roger Martyn Carr, chair of the board of directors, BAE Systems; Charles Woodburn, CEO of BAE Systems; David Armstrong, managing director of BAE Systems; Glynn Phillips, managing director of BAE Systems; Clifford Robson, managing director of BAE Systems; Alexander Cresswell, chair of the board of directors and CEO of Thales UK; Christopher Shaw, chief operating officer of Thales UK; Paul Gosling, Vice President, Thales UK; Ewen McCrorie, Vice President, Thales UK; Suzanne Stratton, Vice President, Thales UK; Lynne Watson, Vice President, Thales UK;
Gregory Campbell, MP; Gavin Robinson, MP; Samuel Wilson, MP.

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