Disinfo: RT and Sputnik banned from UK media freedom conference, so they don’t ask the "wrong questions"

Summary

The United Kingdom is isolating the “inconvenient ones”: it is ok to lie when all the like-minded ones stand up and lie in chorus, without those who will tell the truth. It is easier not to let Russia Today and Sputnik in, so they don’t ask the wrong questions. The fashion for Russophobia is still very much alive. They are in a state of panic that someone will ask the wrong questions.

Disproof

In reality, Russia's RT and Sputnik news agencies have been banned from attending a conference on media freedom in London for playing an "active role in spreading disinformation". “We have not accredited RT or Sputnik because of their active role in spreading disinformation,” Foreign Office spokeswoman said. “While it’s not possible to accommodate all requests for accreditation, journalists from across the world’s media are attending the conference, including from Russia”, spokeswoman added. One of the Russian journalists present at the event was Galina Timchenko, founder and CEO of Meduza Russia Latvia. In 2019, the British media regulator, Ofcom, found that RT (Russia Today) had been in “serious failure of compliance” with the rules of “due impartiality” in a total of seven cases. The media watchdog concluded that in seven of the ten cases under review, RT has violated Ofcoms standards. Back then, Ofcom also made it clear that it would “consider these breaches for sanction.”

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 158
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/07/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: UK, Russia
  • Keywords: Russia Today (RT), Freedom of speech, Sputnik
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Disproof

Conspiracy theory, presented without any evidence. A pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative linking Britain and Russophobia. This message is consistent with a recurrent pro-Kremlin narrative that the “deep state” and “shadow government” control the work of democratic institutions in the United States. Here are some other examples of this narrative: “Deep state” fighting with Trump (here and here); “Deep state” shaping the US foreign policy (here).

No reputable political scientists and researchers confirm the existence of a “deep state” in the United States.

Russia’s 9M729 missile does not violate the INF Treaty

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Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that Russia’s 9M729 missile does not violate the INF Treaty, that the US is fully responsible for the demise of the Treaty, and that Russia is interested in dialogue about the Treaty but the US is not. The INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty, signed in 1987, prohibits the US and Russia from possessing, producing or test-flying ground-launched ballistic and cruise missiles with ranges between 500 and 5500 kilometers. In July 2014 the then-US President Obama officially accused Russia of testing a missile in violation of the INF Treaty. In March 2017, a senior US military official accused Russia of deploying the new missile, which posed a threat to NATO and to facilities within the NATO area of responsibility. The US has gathered detailed information on Russia’s flight-testing of the 9M792 missile to distances well over 500 kilometers. The US has provided Moscow with substantial information about the 9M729’s violations, including geographic coordinates and dates for the tests, but Russia continues to deny any wrongdoing. The US has spent almost six years in dialogues with Russia to try to resolve Russia’s non-compliance, raising the issue in numerous meetings, including at the highest levels as well as in meetings of technical experts. However, Russia consistently refused to address US and NATO concerns. See here for more background information. .

Eastern Partnership aimed at weakening Russia's geopolitical influence

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Disproof

The Eastern Partnership programme is a frequent target of pro-Kremlin disinformation. Similar cases are available here and here. The Eastern Partnership programme is not directed against any country, including Russia. It is a joint policy initiative which aims to deepen and strengthen relations between the European Union, its member states and six Eastern neighbours: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine. Within this framework, guiding the EU's relations with its neighbours is the EU’s Global Strategy and the European Neighbourhood Policy, which calls for the need to focus on increasing the stabilisation and resilience of the EU's Eastern neighbours. See here for more information about EaP's objectives and a joint commitment to deliver tangible results for citizens across the region. Read more about the most repeated myths about the Eastern Partnership initiative here.