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Putin anchor's Norway hols hit by visa ban

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Dmitry Kiselyov fronting his highly influential programme. Photo: Screen Grab
10:50 CEST+02:00
Russian television host Dmitry Kiselyov has been forced to cancel his planned family holiday in far northern Norway after EU sanctions banned him from getting a Norwegian visa.
Kiselyov, a fluent Norwegian speaker whose role as a pro-Putin propagandist won him a place on the EU's visa sanctions list published on March 20th, has accused the country of violating his freedom of speech. 
 
"For a person who is 100 percent a friend of Norway to fall under Norwegian sanctions is to restrict freedom of speech," he told Russia's Izvestia newspaper in an interview on Friday. 
 
Kiselyov told the paper that he and his family had planned to drive across the border from Murmansk and visit Gjesvær on the far northern tip on Norway. 
 
"We have rented a lodge in the northern Viking settlement of Gjesvær with only 150 inhabitants, to show the children the midnight sun, cliffs full of birds, and seals. We have already sent advance payment,” he told the newspaper. 
 
Kiselyov, who studied Norwegian at Moscow State University and has long ties to the country, was also scheduled to appear at the annual meeting of Barents Press, a network of journalists from Russia, Norway, Finland and Sweden, in Kirkenes at the end of this month. 
 
Amund Trellevik, a Norwegian board member of the organization, told Barents Observer that it was a shame he would not be able to attend. 
 
“Yes, we are aware that he is a controversial person, but that is exactly why we invited him,” Amund Trellevik argued, saying it was wrong to deny a journalist a visa. 
 
“This is not the right way to respond to the Crimean crisis. Russia’s conflict with Ukraine and the cooling in east-west relations will be in the centre of discussions at the Barents Press annual meeting where 130 journalists from the region will participate. Here, everyone’s voice should be heard.” 
 
Kiselyov was in December appointed head of the newly merged government press agency, Rossiya Segodnya (Russia Today).

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Kiselyov broadcast a show recently in which he stood in front of a giant mushroom cloud and reminded viewers that Russia is the only country in the world capable of reducing the United States to radioactive rubble. 
 
He has also recently aired extreme anti-homosexual views. 
 
“[Gays] should be prohibited from donating blood and sperm," he recently argued in his show. "And their hearts, if they die in a car accident, should be buried or burned as unfit for extending anyone’s life.”  

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