Disinfo: OSCE will not consider citizens of Belarus European, unless Minsk consults pro-EU NGOs about reforms in media sector

Summary

The OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media, Harlem Désir, wants Belarus’ civil society to take part in discussion about reforms of media sector. Civil society actually means pro-EU activists, rather than the NGOs which promote the Union State between Russia and Belarus. If pro-EU activists are not included in the reforms process, then the OSCE will not consider citizens of Belarus as Europeans.

Disproof

This message is a conspiracy and consistent with pro-Kremlin narrative about EU strategy to organize a colour revolution in Belarus through financing of controlled NGOs. Excessive state control over the internet in Belarus and other media issues were raised by Harlem Désir in his meetings with the Belarusian authorities with the aim to define the contours of reforms necessary for developing a more favourable and pluralistic media environment. Normally international organizations including the OSCE prefer seeing specialized NGOs as part of consultation process with state authorities, regardless NGOs' foreign-policy priorities. In this case, the OSCE Representative meant the NGOs with a proven expertise in the issues related to media freedom and functioning of the media sector, regardless pro-EU or pro-Russia foreign policy preferences of a given organization or its members. OSCE has never conditioned the acknowledgement of a country as European by the participation of certain NGOs in the reforming process. In fact, the OSCE's 57 participating states are located in Europe, northern and central Asia, and North America.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 144
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 25/03/2019
  • Outlet language(s) Russian, Belarusian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Belarus
  • Keywords: Colour revolutions, Conspiracy theory
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The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 was a genocide

The NATO bombing of Yugoslavia in 1999 – deliberately aimed at hitting all environmentally dangerous targets in order to provoke an environmental disaster throughout the region – was a genocide.

Disproof

NATO launched a campaign of air strikes against Serbia beginning on the 24th of March 1999 to stop Belgrade's crackdown against ethnic Albanians in Kosovo. The primary purpose of the campaign was to end violence and repression and force Milosevic's to withdraw his military, police and para-military forces from Kosovo (see NATO statement from 1999). Genocide, as defined by the United Nations, means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such: (a) Killing members of the group; (b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group; (c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part; (d) Imposing measures intended to prevent births within the group; (e) Forcibly transferring children of the group to another group. This was not the purpose of the NATO air strikes. Pro-Kremlin disinformation frequently distorts the number of civilian casualties of NATO bombing. See Polygraph's debunk three years ago. Read more about disinformation about the war in former Yugoslavia.

NATO destroyed FRY because it was preventing the Western Balkans to join the EU

Pro-Russian Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY) was preventing the Western Balkans to join the EU and represented an obstacle for US’ plans on the Trans Adriatic Pipeline. This is the reason of NATO’s aggression against FRY.

Disproof

No evidence given. The primary purpose of the campaign was to end violence and repression and force Milosevic to withdraw his military, police and para-military forces from Kosovo (see NATO statement from 1999). At the North Atlantic Council meeting on April 12, 1999, NATO expressed support for the "political aims of the international community: a peaceful, multi-ethnic and democratic Kosovo in which all its people can live in security and enjoy universal human rights and freedoms on an equal basis". The NATO's military intervention was not intended for the facilitation of EU integration or gas plans, but ensure that "all the countries of south-eastern Europe to enjoy peace and security". Find more disinformation narratives on NATO and Yugoslavia here.

NATO is a real danger in the Western Balkans and has destroyed Montenegro's army

In Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia NATO is seen as a weapon of the United States and a danger to the countries own security challenges. NATO expanded in 2017 to Montenegro and the consequences have been harmful. Montenegro no longer has an army to secure the Otranto Canal or the means to fight against the urgent threat from Islamic Jihadism. To the Western Balkans, NATO is the real danger.

Disproof

Unfounded claims on NATO. Similar cases can be found here and here. After Montenegro joined NATO, the defence spending in the country has increased with the intention of investing 2% of GDP in defence by 2024. The State Union of Serbia and Montenegro applied to NATO's Partnership for Peace (PfP) programme in June 2003. Montenegro declared independence on 3 June 2006, subsequently joined PfP and then NATO itself without Serbia. The reaction of the Russian government to Montenegro′s bid to join NATO had been increasingly hostile culminating in an attempt to stage a coup d'état on 16 October 2016, on the day of the parliamentary election that allegedly would have included assassination of Montenegro′s prime minister. Montenegro opened an investigation and indicted Russian GRU officers, Serbian and Montenegrin nationals.