Disinfo: French media are not free


Russia bashing takes place in the French press. It has evolved a lot since the 70s and 80s when France’s media was pluralistic and discussions between different political figures took place. This is not the case nowadays. Take a random newspaper. Le Monde, for example: It is the Pravda of today. Its coverage of Russia is even worse than Pravda. Every media outlet reports the same. The question is, how has France reached this point?

In Russia, freedom of speech exists but in our own way.

In France, you can only say one thing about Russia, like aggression and that Putin is a dictator. This is freedom to say only one narrative. Let’s take coverage of Ukraine in France. It’s almost like one centre exists which indicates what to write: a democratic country is struggling against Russian aggression. Only a few media outlets mention that there are far right, Nazi forces in Ukraine which march like the Nazis in Germany in the 30s.


No evidence given.

According to Reporters without borders, France ranks 32nd for freedom of speech among 180 countries, the same as for 2019. Russia is at 149, behind, for example, the United Arab Emirates. Its ranking means that the Russian press is not free “in its own way” as specified.

French media, meanwhile, are happy to broadcast a range of viewpoints. For example, Vladimir Putin's 4 hour long interview was broadcast during prime time on a French public TV channel. A movie on "Nazis in Ukraine" ("Masks of the revolution") was broadcast on the private channel Canal+, although it provoked criticism from other journalists working in the region.

Pro-Kremlin narrative states that Ukraine’s ruling bodies contain Nazis and that the annexation of Crimea was "preventive" to avoid any future Nazi victims. But first of all, the far right is not influential in Ukrainian politics. There are no Nazis in the government nor in the parliament of Ukraine. The insignificance of the "Right Sector" is evident from the election results – their candidate received 0.7% of the vote in the May 2014 presidential elections, and the party received 1.8% of the vote in the October 2014 parliamentary elections. It is far short of the threshold needed to enter Parliament. The "Right Sector" supported Svoboda's candidate, Ruslan Kushuyinskyi, in the April 2019 presidential election. Mr. Kurshuyinskyi received 1,62 percents of the votes in the first round of the election.

Currently, only 7 out of 450 deputies in the Ukrainian parliament Verkhovna Rada represent the so-called right-wing: 6 deputies from the "Svoboda" party and one from the "Right Sector". Therefore, they do not have any significant influence on decision making neither in Ukrainian parliament nor in government.



  • Reported in: Issue146
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 17/04/2019
  • Language/target audience: , , French
  • Country: Russia, Ukraine, France
  • Keywords: Freedom of speech, Nazi/Fascist


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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