Denying Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) Chairman Jeff Shell entry into Russia was a display of "blatant aggression" that will not deter U.S. broadcasters from their mission to provide accurate news to people whose governments suppress information, the BBG chief executive said.
In a press release on July 14, BBG Chief Executive Officer John Lansing also said that "every day, the Russian government silences critics and tightly controls information in and around the country."
Shell was detained on July 12 at Moscow's Sheremtyevo Airport. He was held for several hours before being put on a flight out of the country.
Russian officials later said Shell was an organizer of "massive false, anti-Russian propaganda." He had been placed on an expanded no-entry list as part of Russia's retaliation for U.S. visa sanctions against Russian officials.
The BBG oversees all of the United States' nonmilitary broadcasting, including Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Shell had been travelling to Moscow to mark the 25th anniversary of the founding of the Moscow bureau of RFE/RL's Russian Service.
Lansing's statement said the incident with Shell "reminds us why the work we do is so important and why we will not be deterred."