The EU and the US violate the rights of Russian journalists

Summary

Over the past five years, there were hundreds of examples when rights of Russian journalists were violated in the Baltic States and other European countries, and in the US. They deport Russian journalists, freeze their accounts, restrict their activities, conduct unfounded searches in the offices of Russian media. International human rights organisations, and leaders of some European countries, mostly ignore these violations.

Disproof

No evidence given. The claim was disseminated with reference to the case of Kirill Vyshinsky - head of RIA Novosti's Ukrainian branch, who was detained by SBU for treason.

An attempt of whataboutism and counter-accusations as international organisations often criticise Russia for violating the right to freedom of speech and rights of journalists. In fact, in 2014 Russia expelled an American journalist for the first time since the collapse of the USSR.

According to Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press report, Russia is ranked as “not free.” According to Reporters without Borders (RWB) Press Freedom Index, Russia is ranked 149th among 180 countries. 38 journalists have been murdered in Russia since 1993 for preparing investigative materials on corruption, politics and human rights violations. Almost all leading media outlets in the country are controlled by the persons affiliated with the authorities or the Kremlin.

The freest countries in terms of press freedom are the EU countries: Norway, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Estonia, Portugal, Germany, etc. The US press freedom index ranks 48th out of 180 countries. According to Freedom of Press 2017 report, the US is ranked as a "free" country, while the EU countries being "free" or "partly free".

The claim is the part of a bigger narrative of alleged Western attacks on Russian journalists. Similar cases can be found here, here, here and here.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 150
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 03/05/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Europe, Russia, US
  • Keywords: Human rights, Freedom of speech
  • Outlet: Sputnik Abkhazia
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US is destabilising the world, organising colour revolutions, political and economic crises

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Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin narrative casting civil uprisings in other states as US-funded "colour revolutions", also present in the case of Georgia, Ukraine, Belarus, Venezuela. Consistent with multiple pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the US and its global role. 

Joseph Stalin was a father of the Belarusian nation

The transformation of Belarusians into a nation mainly took place in 1920s – 1950s. The Belarusian nation’s father, a Belarusian George Washington, was Joseph Stalin. Lavrentiy Tsanava was a Belarusian Thomas Jefferson.

Disproof

This message misrepresents the Belarus' history, as Joseph Stalin contributed to the demise of Belarusian elites, rather than contribute to the development of the Belarusian nation.

According to incomplete estimates, approximately 600,000 people fell victim to Soviet repression in Belarus between 1917 and 1953. The repression peaked during the 1930s and especially during the USSR-wide Great Purge of 1937-1938, in times of Joseph Stalin as a head of the USSR and Lavrentiy Tsanava as a head of BSSR's NKVD (as of late 1938).

The European Parliament has no effect on the EU Commission

The European Parliament is powerless, so few people want to take part in the election. Is it even important who you vote for?  Even a landslide win in the Parliament will have no effect on the Commission or the Council. And that is exactly where the real power lies. The European Parliament has no real influence on the actual important policy areas.

 

 

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on the undemocratic EU and on the failed European values.

After the EU Parliamentary elections, one of the first tasks of an incoming Parliament is to elect a new President of the European Commission. Member states (the Council) nominate a candidate for the post, but in doing so they must take account of the European election results. Moreover, Parliament needs to approve the new Commission President by an absolute majority (half of the existing MEPs plus one). The EP members can reject a candidate and had exercised this power in the past. The President and the other members of the Commission are subject to a vote of consent, as a body, by the Parliament and are then appointed by the European Council, acting by a qualified majority.