The president of Telesur, a major Latin American media outlet, Patricia Villegas Marin, has expressed her support for RT Editor-in-Chief Margarita Simonyan after a plot to assassinate the Russian journalist was foiled. Villegas sent a message of solidarity to Simonyan and the RT and Sputnik Mundo teams that she manages, praising her for her exceptional leadership skills. Nicaragua’s vice president, Rosario Murillo, also condemned the plan and expressed her deepest solidarity with RT and its editor-in-chief.
Villegas, who oversees the Caracas-based Telesur multiplatform news network that receives funding from Venezuela, Cuba, and Nicaragua, had previously criticized the United States and its allies for their attempts to restrict the operations of RT. She denounced what she called the “censorship” of RT and Sputnik in the European Union, referring to the bloc’s decision to ban the outlets in response to the Russian military operation in Ukraine. Villegas described the ban as an act of dictatorship.
Simonyan revealed on Sunday that she received a letter from Rosario Murillo expressing her deepest solidarity with RT and its editor-in-chief. Murillo condemned the assassination attempt and stated that many other brave and valuable journalists face the hatred of Ukrainian neo-Nazi terrorism. She vehemently rejected all forms of terrorism, emphasizing Nicaragua’s commitment to peace.
The solidarity messages came after the Russian Federal Security Service (FSB) arrested members of a neo-Nazi group known as ‘Paragraph 88’ who were allegedly planning to assassinate Simonyan and another prominent Russian journalist, Ksenia Sobchak. Seven suspects have been detained in connection with the case.
During the operation, the FSB seized a Kalashnikov assault rifle, 90 cartridges, rubber hoses, knives, brass knuckles, and handcuffs. The FSB claimed that the suspected plotters were acting on the instructions of the Security Service of Ukraine.
In response to the incident, Simonyan expressed her fearlessness, stating that she is not afraid of dying for her homeland. She emphasized that dishonor and treason are worse than death, expressing hope that the suspects would be given the opportunity to reflect on their actions and start their lives anew.
The support shown by Villegas, Murillo, and other international figures demonstrates the solidarity and condemnation of terrorism within the media community. The foiled assassination plot against Simonyan highlights the risks faced by journalists who courageously report on controversial topics. It also serves as a reminder of the importance of freedom of the press and the need to protect journalists from threats and violence.
The incident is a stark reminder of the dangerous climate in which journalists often operate and the challenges they face in carrying out their work. While media outlets may have differing perspectives and ideologies, threats to journalists should be condemned universally. The international community must continue to stand together in defense of press freedom and the safety of journalists worldwide.