Montenegro joins EU in banning Russian media outlets RT, Sputnik

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FILE PHOTO: Illustration shows RT logo

PODGORICA (Reuters) - Montenegro said on Wednesday it had banned Russian state-controlled media outlets Russia Today and Sputnik as part of sanctions imposed over the war in Ukraine, following in the steps of the EU that the small Balkan state hopes to join.

The European Union banned the two outlets last month over what it called their "systematic information manipulation and disinformation" over Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

RT and Sputnik were automatically banned in Montenegro under sanctions that took effect last week, local media quoted Branko Boskovic, head of the electronic media council, as saying after the state body met on Wednesday.

The sanction means that local operators will be prohibited from broadcasting, facilitating or otherwise contributing to thedissemination of any RT and Sputnik content.

The ban applies to RT's English unit and operations in Britain, Germany, France and Spain. It extends to broadcasting licences or authorisation, transmission and distribution arrangements between the two companies and local operators and internet providers.

NATO member Montenegro is home to a large ethnic Serb population that tends to be more pro-Russian, while most Montenegrins see their country's future in the EU.

Montenegro's economy is heavily reliant on tourism and the Adriatic nation normally draws many visitors from both Russia and Ukraine. Many Russians own property or yachts there.

(Reporting by Stevo Vasiljevic, writing by Daria Sito-Sucic; Editing by Gareth Jones)