Moscow Pours Scorn on US State Department's Portrayal of Non-Free Press

Russia's Press Ministry said it was bewildered by the claims contained in a human rights report presented to Congress by the US State Department, where Russia was highlighted in a negative context, among other nations.

The ministry's press office told RIA Novosti the Press Ministry "took a sarcastic view of the American foreign affairs establishment's attempts to represent Russia as a country where a free press is nonexistent." The Press Ministry "regretfully notes a certain political short-sightedness of a State Department that criticizes the Russian government for its actions that in American diplomats' opinion weaken the autonomy of broadcast media," the press office pointed out.

"Statements by US officials about purported infringements of civil rights and liberties taking place take on a particular piquancy against the background of the continuing military operation of the US forces in Iraq. As regards the conduct of US official spokespeople in the coverage of the military conflict, we have all been witnesses to both biased presentation of information and the misleading of both the US public and the world community at large," said the ministry press office.

For its part, the Russian Press Ministry, the press office said, reiterates the immutable principles of freedom of speech and independence of the mass media in Russia and hopes the United States will make more balanced and adequate statements in future.

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