Disinfo: Germany has a serious problem with freedom of speech

Summary

No one will disagree that Germany has a serious problem with freedom of speech.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative claiming that Western societies enjoy little to no freedom of speech and/or press.

The German Constitution not only recognizes freedom of the press as a vital component of freedom of expression, but even upholds it as "an independent and separate freedom under article 5 of the Basic Law."

Accordingly, Reporters Without Borders ranks Germany as the 11th media-friendliest state globally, noting that the country's "[s]olid constitutional gaurantees and an independent judiciary ensure a favourable environment for journalists."

Pro-Kremlin outlets routinely decry the alleged erosion of press freedom in various Western states, while simultaneously claiming that Russian journalists enjoy far greater liberties than their European counterparts. See similar cases concerning The Netherlands, the Baltics, France, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 217
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/10/2020
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Germany
  • Keywords: Freedom of speech, Media

Disclaimer

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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JIT ignores Russia-supplied radar data proving MH17 was shot down by Ukraine

The Dutch-led Joint Investigative Team, which is looking into the case, believes that the Boeing was shot down with a weapon belonging to a Russian military unit. The Russian authorities have criticised the Dutch investigation for ignoring radar data presented by Moscow, which it says shows that the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian Buk missile.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative surrounding the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 17.

The claim that Moscow was "eager" to supply the JIT with radar readings is false. The first batch of data provided by Russia was not "raw data" but rather a video combining primary and secondary information. It was intended to corroborate Russia's account of the events, according to which the ill-fated passenger flight had been shot down by a Ukrainian fighter jet (see here for context). The raw data provided by Moscow, in the words of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service, "offered contradictory results"; hence, "the investigation of radar data is complete" not only on the basis of the information provided by Moscow, but "also on the reasons why other data could not be provided [emphasis added]."

EU imposed Navalny-related sanctions on Russia despite lack of proof

[German FM Heiko Maas] talks about the rule of law. But there can be no talk of rule of law in Navalny’s case, because the [EU] sanctions were imposed with no trial, no investigation, not so much as even a chat with the OPCW. Nonetheless, the guilty party was promptly appointed.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative surrounding the poisoning of Russian dissident Alexei Navalny.

By the time the EU sanctions were imposed, the fact of Navalny's poisoning with a Novichok-type agent had been established during the activist's stay at the Charite hospital. These findings were later independently corroborated by labs in France and Sweden, and finally confirmed by the OPCW, which stated that [t]he biomarkers of the cholinesterase inhibitor found in Mr Navalny’s blood and urine samples have similar structural characteristics to the toxic chemicals belonging to schedules 1.A.14 and 1.A.15."

Local elections may trigger further disintegration of Ukraine, its collapse is inevitable

The mechanism for Ukraine’s disintegration was launched after the country reached independence. For thirty years, Ukraine did not have any development mechanism.

The problem of Ukraine is not in the Ukrainians, not in the name, but that it is anti-Russian. This country is only an instrument of the West’s struggle against Russia. To be anti-Russian is the basis of the state. If it is not anti-Russian, then what is the meaning of its sovereignty?

[Its] separation is inevitable. And the local elections, which should take place this Sunday, 25 October, may trigger the further collapse of Ukraine.

Disproof

This is part of recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives about the disintegration of Ukraine. Consistent with pro-Kremlin narratives alleging that Ukraine is a degrading and anti-Russian state.

There is no reason to believe that the scheduled local elections, to be held on 25 October, will trigger the collapse of Ukraine. It is a planned event that is held every five years. Ukraine is a democratic country and the right to elect local authorities is one of the key constitutional rights of Ukrainian citizens.