“The chemical attack in Idlib in Syria on 7 April this year was a piece of “fake news” and a staged operation from the side of the rebels, which aimed at discrediting Syria’s government forces”. So was the message in a seven minutes long report broadcast last week in Russia by the TV channel and online outlet Zvezda. In order to assess the relevance of Zvezda’s production as a contribution to throwing light on the Idlib attack, it makes sense to ask what kind of outlet Zvezda is and what interest it would have in making this sensational claim.
The atmosphere in talk shows on Russian state-controlled TV channels has become increasingly aggressive over the past three years.
TV Zvezda claims that almost half of Ukraine’s population has left the country and is working abroad. This figure, however, is not supported by any available statistics.
A number of Russian media outlets have told the same story about EU-financed “concentration camps” in Ukraine.
“Europeans are seeking refuge in Russia from aggressive sexual education, homosexual dictatorship and juvenile justice,” readers of a Russian news outlet were told.