Disinfo: EU, NATO member states encourage closure of independent media


It is necessary to draw attention to the fact that in a number of EU and NATO member states, as well as in Ukraine, independent media are unceremoniously closed, and the leading Western capitals welcome and encourage these gross violations of the existing UN, OSCE and Council of Europe decisions on freedom of access to information.


A recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative accusing the West of double-standards and violating freedom of speech.

Under the “independent media” in Ukraine, the claim refers to the recent closure by Ukrainian authorities of three TV channels. According to the Ukrainian government and President Zelenskyy, the decision was linked to the implementation of personal sanctions against Taras Kozak. Economic and other restrictive measures were applied against the TV channels that he owns such as 112 Ukraine, ZIK and NewsOne after the decision of the National Security and Defence Council of UkraineAs stressed by Ukrainian President, Volodimir Zelenskyy, these channels were the source of disinformation and “earned money on the war”.

The decision to implement sanctions on Taras Kozak and his TV channels was supported by Ukrainian NGOs Countering Disinformation. In a joint statement, they stressed that these channels were tools of foreign influence operations, and were a systemic threat to the information security of Ukraine.

The Ukrainian media landscape has been and continues to be affected by sustained pro-Russian disinformation campaigns. While Ukraine’s efforts to protect its territorial integrity and national security, as well as to defend itself from information manipulation are legitimate, given the scale of disinformation campaigns affecting Ukraine including from abroad, this should not come at the expense of freedom of media and must be done in full respect of fundamental rights and freedoms and following international standards.

As regards the claim that 'some EU/ NATO member states' who "encourage these violations", pro-Kremlin media usually refer to the Baltic States with these claims. It is a common practice for pro-Kremlin media to blame the Baltic States for the discrimination against Russian language “independent” media. Most recently, on 9 February 2021, Latvia's broadcast regulator, the National Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP) removed 16 Russian TV channels the list of programmes that can be retransmitted into Latvia. NEPLP found that as of 1 February, the entity formerly bearing the legal right to distribute and retransmit these TV programmes no longer holds that right. The potential new distributor has so far been incapable of showing documentation that proves that it has the legal right to act in that capacity.

Similarly, the Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission found in January 2021 that Russian TV channel “RTR Planeta” violated the Lithuanian Law on the provision of the information to the public. In particular, the Commission found that paragraph 1(3) and paragraph 2 of Article 19 of the Republic of Lithuania Law on Public Information were violated. A segment from the news programme “Vesti" disseminated on January 13 2021 about events in Vilnius on January 13 was judged to be disinformation and inciting hatred.

Read similar cases claiming that Ukraine and Baltics use restrictions against Russian media for their geopolitical goals, while the Baltic States continuously obstruct work of Russian media, that Russian journalists are being repressed in Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Poland, Germany, France and the UK and that Lithuania violates the right of Russian speaking people to get information in their mother tongue.


  • Reported in: Issue 236
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 19/03/2021
  • Article language(s) , Russian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia, Ukraine, EU, Baltic states
  • Keywords: Media, Freedom of speech, NATO
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Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about the US and the West allegedly pursuing a belligerent and hostile agenda against Russia. The article’s message is also consistent with the pro-Kremlin narrative that seeks to discredit US President Joe Biden.

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