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Syria slams US penalties on state media

Updated: 2012-03-06 09:03
( Xinhua)

DAMASCUS - Syria's official SANA news agency launched scathing criticisms Monday on the US sanctions targeting Syria's official media broadcasting organization, saying that the move came "in the context of the US policy of confiscating the freedom of opinion and media."

"The new measure is a flagrant contradiction to the US claims of defending the freedom of speech and opinion," said SANA, the mouthpiece of the Syrian government.

"The democracy, which these countries boast, are just slogans that are being used to serve these powers' interests and political agendas," it added.

It said that "the sanctions also reflect the fact of the American-Western disturbance over the role of the state media in exposing the disinformation campaign against Syria."

Earlier Monday, the United States targeted Syria's General Organization of Radio and TV for sanctions, the latest in its expanding efforts to press the Syrian government to stop what it called a violent crackdown on demonstrators.

The US Department of Treasury said in a statement that as a state-run agency under Syria's ministry of information, the general organization is responsible for operating Syria's state-owned television channels, two terrestrial and one satellite, as well as the government radio stations.

"By taking this action today, the treasury is sending a clear signal that it stands with the Syrian people. Any individuals or institutions supporting its abhorrent behavior will be targeted and cut off from the international financial system," said Adam Szubin, director of the US treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control.

The move bans US citizens from doing business with the Syrian government, including the general organization, and freezes all of their assets under the US jurisdiction.