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Russian embassy slams proposed US visa restrictions for journalists

Oct 27, 2020

Washington DC (USA) Oct 27: The measures proposed by the US Department of Homeland Security on tightening visa issuance procedures for foreign journalists are the unjustified complication of bureaucratic procedures and the creation of artificial barriers for their normal work, the Russian Embassy in the United States said a comment on the proposed restrictions.
"The novelties proposed by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) in order to revise "I" visa issuance procedures significantly complicate the professional duties of foreign journalists in the United States," the Russian diplomatic mission said. "In particular, the limitation of the period of stay for foreign media employees to 240 days (with the possibility of extension up to 480 days) will not allow them to consistently cover local events," the diplomats said. Journalists "will have to leave the United States for a considerable time to obtain a new visa," the diplomatic mission stressed.
Reciprocity principle
"The unjustified complication of bureaucratic procedures and the creation of artificial barriers for the normal work of foreign journalists do not correspond with the concepts of freedom of speech and equal access to information," the Embassy said. "The reasons for implementation of such decisions are also not clear, which makes it impossible to assess their practical significance."
Moreover, "based on the principle of reciprocity in international relations, the measures proposed by the DHS could negatively affect the work of American reporters abroad," the diplomats said.
Russia proceeds from the premise that "the existing rules providing for the possibility for media representatives to carry out their professional activities after the expiration of "I" visas (until leaving the United States) are in the best interests of all parties involved," they said.
In September, the DHS proposed to change the rules of issuing US visas for foreign journalists, students and exchange visitors by limiting their stay in the country to a certain period. The proposal was submitted for discussion and no possible date of the introduction of this new rule was announced. According to the DHS, this needs to be done in order "to reduce fraud and enhance national security.".
Source: TASS