Disinfo: Estonian openly persecutes journalists

Summary

The actions of the Estonian regime are an open persecution of journalists, an example of totalitarianism and a gross violation of the freedom of expression.

Disproof

This claim tries to show sanctions against Russia, due to its illegal actions in Ukraine, as an unfair persecution against the outlet and its employees, and against media freedom in general.

As for freedom of expression, Estonia is ranked as the 11th freest country in the world for press by Reporters Without Borders. Estonia does not persecute journalists or limit freedom of expression. It's important to note that Estonia has not blocked Sputnik Estonia's website, as it is accessible and operational. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu has emphasized that Estonia has not taken any measures against the portal's media content: "They are financial sanctions aimed at economic activity. I believe it to be justified. We have notified the European Commission's Legal Service. European agencies have said in the Commission that steps taken by Estonia in exercising sanctions policy are warranted."

The current problems of Sputnik Estonia stem from sanctions against Dmitry Kiselyov, Director-General of Rossiya Segodnya, the mother company of Sputnik, as a result of Russia’s invasion of Crimea. Article 2 of the Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014, on the territorial integrity of Ukraine, foresees Kiselyov’s assets to be frozen. As a result, Estonian banks froze the accounts of Rossiya Segodnya and the Financial Intelligence Unit informed persons employed or contracted by Rossiya Segodnya that it is forbidden to knowingly perform work or provide services to a sanctioned person.

Estonia is considered a consolidated democracy by Freedom House and a Flawed Democracy by the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index, similar to countries like the US, Japan, France, Portugal or Belgium. Thus, Estonia is by no means a totalitarian regime.

The EU vs Disinfo team has found 49 different Sputnik websites from all over the world and 31 of them are in the Disinfrormation cases database, meaning those outlets have been publishing disinformation. Sputnik Estonia is represented in that database both in Estonian and in Russian languages.

Sputnik was created by a Presidential decree with the aim to “report on the state policy of Russia abroad”. Numerous reports have described how top managers from all the large government-controlled outlets and some influential private media attend the weekly meetings where "media managers receive guidelines that “help” them not to overstep the Kremlin’s so-called “double white lines”".

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 179
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 31/12/2019
  • Language/target audience: Spanish, Castilian
  • Country: Estonia
  • Keywords: Freedom of speech, Sputnik
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The US is ready to transfer 50 atomic bombs from Turkey to the Aviano base in Italy

Within NATO, Turkey is increasingly seen as an unreliable member of the Alliance. This is why the US is ready to transfer 50 atomic bombs from Turkey to the Aviano base in Italy. It looks increasingly likely that NATO will transfer 50 nuclear warheads from the Incirlik military base in Turkey to the US Armed Forces base in Aviano. As a result, Aviano would become the biggest deposit of nuclear weapons in Europe.

Disproof

No evidence. The information has been denied by Italy’s Ministry of Defence. The Italian Ministry of Defence issued a statement that the news that has been circulating for several days regarding the transfer of nuclear weapons from Turkey to Italy is “totally baseless” and underlined that every aspect related to nuclear posture within NATO is discussed collectively among all member countries.

Poland started World War II

Using the enormous archive of trophy documents Putin has proved two crucial points: first, on the eve of the World War II Poland basically formed a military alliance with Hitler’s Germany and secondly, anti-antisemitism became a state ideology of Poland before the war. This means that Poland, together with Nazi Germany, is the culprit of starting World War II.

Disproof

Historical revisionism consistent with recurring disinformation pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Poland and the WWII. Poland did not start World War II, it was Nazi Germany, which attacked Poland on September 1, 1939, with Soviet troops entering Polish territory on September 17. By the early part of 1939 Hitler had become determined to invade and occupy Poland. Secret negotiations between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union led to the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in Moscow on August 23–24. In a secret protocol of this pact, the Germans and the Soviets agreed that Poland should be divided between them, with the Western part of the country going to Germany and the eastern two-thirds being taken over by the USSR. Read more here. In September 2019 the European Parliament adopted a resolution on the importance of European remembrance and expressed deep concern regarding the efforts of the current Russian leadership to distort historical facts and whitewash crimes committed by the Soviet totalitarian regime. See previous pro-Kremlin disinformation cases alleging that Poland was the initiator of the WWII; that Poland was the organizer of the WWII and its main culprit.

Ukraine declared war against Donetsk and Luhansk after the 2014 coup

In April of 2014, the Ukrainian authorities launched a military operation against the residents of the Donetsk and Luhansk republics, which both declared their independence unilaterally as an expression of their opposition to the coup in Ukraine in February of the same year.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the war in Ukraine, aiming to portray the conflict as Ukraine's civil war.

The war in eastern Ukraine is not a civil conflict, but a well-documented act of aggression by Russian armed forces, ongoing since February 2014.