Tucker Carlson revealed on Tuesday that he was in Moscow to conduct an interview with Putin, marking the first time the Russian president has agreed to speak with a Western journalist since the invasion of Ukraine two years ago.
In a surprising turn of events, members of the European Parliament are urging sanctions against Tucker Carlson following his announcement of an upcoming interview with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. The move has triggered strong reactions within conservative circles.
Guy Verhofstadt, a member of the European Parliament and former prime minister of Belgium, proposed imposing a “travel ban” on Carlson, accusing him of acting as a “mouthpiece” for Putin. Verhofstadt argued that since Putin is considered a war criminal, the European Union (EU) should examine Carlson’s case, citing EU sanctions against those assisting Putin in his actions.
Urmas Paet, another European Parliament member from Estonia, echoed the call for a travel ban against Carlson. Paet criticized Carlson for providing a platform to someone accused of genocide and accused him of being sympathetic to the Russian regime while disparaging Ukraine, a victim of Russian aggression.
The European Parliament’s threats to sanction Carlson received criticism from conservative media in the U.S. Jeremy Boreing, co-founder of the Daily Wire, condemned the idea, emphasizing the importance of free speech and journalism. Boreing highlighted the potential dangers of restricting individuals for engaging in free expression, even if their views differ.
Carlson’s interview with Putin has already taken place, though the content has not been released. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov emphasized that Carlson’s position is neither pro-Russian nor pro-Ukrainian but rather pro-American, offering a perspective that contrasts with traditional Anglo-Saxon media.
The extent of support for sanctioning Carlson within the European Parliament remains unclear. Any potential sanctions or travel bans would likely undergo a lengthy review process before approval, if pursued at all. The backlash from conservative voices underscores the contentious nature of limiting individuals based on their journalistic endeavors and expression of free speech.