DISINFO: Estonia pressures anyone with points of view diverging from the official one
DISINFORMATION CASE DETAILS
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Censorship Freedom of speech Sputnik

DISINFO: Estonia pressures anyone with points of view diverging from the official one

SUMMARY

Estonian intelligence exerts a variety of methods to pressure the opposition and independent politicians, public figures, human rights activists and journalists who represent a point of view inconsistent with the country’s domestic and foreign policies, as well as defenders of the rights of Russian-speaking communities.

“Sputnik – Estonia” news agency is under severe pressure from the authorities, which have increased greatly and amounted to repression and administrative restrictions since the fall of 2019 with the clear aim of liquidating the agency.

There are British coordinators involved in the practices of the Estonian authorities.

RESPONSE

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

Estonia is ranked as the 11th freest country in the world for press by Reporters Without Borders. Estonia is considered a consolidated democracy by Freedom House and a Flawed Democracy by the Economist Intelligence Unit's Democracy Index. Thus, Estonia is by no means a regime that pressures opposition or those who represent a point of view inconsistent with the country's domestic and foreign policies.

Regarding censorship, Estonia has not blocked Sputnik Estonia's website and it is accessible. 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 Article 2 of the Council Regulation (EU) No 269/2014 on the territorial integrity of Ukraine foresees freezing the assets of Dmitry Kiselyov, the Director-General of Rossija Segodnya. According to the articles of association of the company, the Director-General has the right to decide upon opening bank accounts and carry out invoicing. This corresponds to the condition "having the right to use all or part of the assets of a legal person or entity" in the EU Best Practices for the effective implementation of restrictive measures.

As for the participation of Brits in the Estonian decision, this conspiracy theory is based on the concept that countries or organisations are not independent but under the control of other countries or organisations. Examples of such disinformation narratives include NATO's Eastern European members are under Washington’s political and military control or The Economist is a mouthpiece of the Rothschilds and Europe is a puppet of Washington.

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Cases in the EUvsDisinfo database focus on messages in the international information space that are identified as providing a partial, distorted, or false depiction of reality and spread key pro-Kremlin messages. This does not necessarily imply, however, that a given outlet is linked to the Kremlin or editorially pro-Kremlin, or that it has intentionally sought to disinform. EUvsDisinfo publications do not represent an official EU position, as the information and opinions expressed are based on media reporting and analysis of the East Stratcom Task Force.

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