Russian Foreign Ministry says it will not renew accreditation for ABC-TV

Tuesday, August 2nd 2005, 10:48 am
By: News On 6

MOSCOW (AP) _ The Russian Foreign Ministry said Tuesday it will not renew the accreditation of ABC-TV after it broadcast an interview with a notorious Chechen warlord.

In a statement, the ministry said the American television channel would be considered ``undesirable'' for contacts with all Russian state agencies as a result of interview with Shamil Basayev, which was broadcast Thursday.

The ministry called the broadcast a ``clear fact supporting the propaganda of terrorism'' and that it contained ``direct vocal calls for violence against Russian citizens.''

As a result, the ministry said the decision was made ``not to renew the accreditations of employees of this television company after they expire.''

The Foreign Ministry is the main government agency authorizing foreign media outlets to work in Russia and the decision effectively bars ABC from working here.

On Friday, the Foreign Ministry summoned a top U.S. diplomat to protest the interview with Basayev, who has claimed responsibility for some of Russia's most terrifying terrorist attacks, including last year's hostage seizure at the school in Beslan, which ended in the deaths of more than 330 children and adults.

In the interview conducted by Russian journalist Andrei Babitsky, Basayev, who has a $10 million bounty on his head, said he was plotting more attacks.