Disinfo: No freedom of speech in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia

Summary

There is no freedom of speech in Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia: Russian journalists working in these countries are targeted by special services.

Disproof

According to Reporters without borders, Latvia ranks 24nd for freedom of speech among 180 countries, the same as for 2018. Lithuania ranks 30th and Estonia 11th. Russia is at 149. Recurring narrative that the Russian media is restricted unfairly, discriminated against in Europe or that freedom of speech is restricted in certain member states. See previous cases here.This narrative stems from the fact that the Baltic States have undertaken measures to address aggressive Kremlin-backed disinformation starting from 2007. Since then a number of institutions including the NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn and Strategic Communications Center of Excellence in Riga were created to provide an adequate response to misinformation coming from sources in Russian language spreading Kremlin-backed narratives.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 161
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 01/08/2019
  • Language/target audience: Russian
  • Country: Lithuania, Estonia, Russia, Latvia
  • Keywords: Media, Sputnik, Russophobia, Baltic states
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Trump's main goal is to destroy the current regime in Iran

Trump is making every effort to start a big war in the Middle East. The main goal of his mandate is to destroy the current regime in Iran. The reason for Trump’s goal is because he came into power with the help of the Israeli lobby.

Disproof

Conspiracy theory with no substance or evidence. Previously, pro-Kremlin outlets have published disinfo about president Trump being unable to resume dialogue with Russia because of the "deep state”, and threatening to release thousands of ISIS members in Europe. Regarding the conspiracy theory about Israely lobby - pro-Kremlin outlets have also previously claimed that the 9/11 was a Jewish-Zionist job and Ukrainian wealthiest people are controlled by the US and Israel.

Russia is dedicated to protecting media freedoms

Russia is categorically against groundless arrests of journalists. The authorities work with press freedom advocates to investigate and curb any such behaviour. The government is quick to respond to journalists’ rights violations.

Disproof

Contrary to these claims, independent journalists in Russia are subjected to frequent threats, attacks and prosecution under dubious charges, the most recent case being that of Ivan Golunov, a journalist arrested in June 2019 under false drug charges. Violence against journalists in Russia continues to happen with impunity: the database of the Committee to Protect Journalists lists 38 murders of journalists in Russia from 1992 to 2017, out of which 33 with complete impunity, 3 with partial impunity and only 2 cases were fully prosecuted and tried. Reporters without Borders’ Press Freedom Index for 2019 ranks Russia 149th out of 180 countries, while IREX Media Sustainability Index for 2019 notes a decline of the country’s already low score, due to, among other things, “sustained governmental pressure on and erosion of the media sector, violence against journalists, and the normalization of propaganda.”

State company Naftogaz of Ukraine recognised the annexation of Crimea

By filing a lawsuit Naftogaz is recognizing that Crimea is a Russian territory, and it recognizes Russia’s rights to property in Crimea.

Disproof

Pro-Kremlin disinformation about the illegal annexation of Crimea. At the end of June 2019, Naftogaz filed a lawsuit in the Tribunal under the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, where they estimated the company's damage from the Russian annexation of Crimea at $5.2 billion. The Court has divided the consideration of the case into two stages and the final decision will be made in the second part, in 2020. After the illegal annexation of Crimea, Russia seized drilling rigs, gas fields, underground storage facilities, the fleet, apartments and other properties belonging to the state company. Naftogaz of Ukraine initiated an international trial with Russia at the end of 2016. Ukraine insists that the Kremlin, in addition to violating a number of international norms through the annexation of Crimea, grossly ignored the interstate agreement on mutual protection of investments between Kyiv and Moscow. It is this agreement that the Ukrainian and Russian leaders signed in 1998 that formed the basis of the Naftogaz lawsuit. See more cases about the alleged recognition of Crimea.