Two high profile media personalities of Greek heritage affected by the Russia blacklisting, have been quick to respond with comments highlighting the role of free press.
SBS Chair George Savvides and ABC journalist Patricia Karvelas are amongst the 121 Australians named in a list announced by Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday banning them from entering the country indefinitely.
The Russian Ministry has cited the promotion of negative perceptions of the country accusing those included in the ‘stop-list’ of contributing to a ‘Russophobic agenda’.
Earlier in the week, the Ministry had issued a statement naming SBS as a contributor to a “Russiaphobic campaign” with its coverage of the war in Ukraine.
In response, SBS Chair George Savvides said the public broadcaster’s coverage is “a clear demonstration of the vital role of a free press within our democracy.”
“Across all our services, including SBS World News and our SBS Russian and SBS Ukrainian language services, we have provided audiences in Australia with strong and impartial coverage of the conflict,” Mr Savvides said stating the board and management are “proud of and stand by our coverage of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine”.
Host of ABC’s RN Breakfast Patricia Karvelas who was also targeted by the blacklisting said she woke up to the news of being banned from entering Russia.
“Waking to news of being sanctioned by Russia at 3:30am was a hallucination reality dreamscape I didn’t imagine for my Friday,” Karvelas posted on Twitter.
“It seems only right and proper to bring you a show which demonstrates our country at its best and our country has a very free press,” she said in a video tweet while at the ABC studio preparing for the morning show.
In its announcement the Russia Foreign Ministry stated that the move was taken “in response to the growing sanctions of the Australian government, which apply to an increasing number of Russian citizens – both officials and their families, as well as representatives of the business community and the media.”
The Ministry said that more Australians would be added to the stop-list.
Greek Australians included in the current list are Strategist editor Anastasia Kapetas, Assistant Secretary of the Defense Minister, Matt Yannopoulos, ABC’s Patricia Karvelas and Greek Cypriot Australian SBS Chairman George Savvides.