DISINFO: Sputnik Estonia and its employees are being persecuted
DISINFORMATION CASE DETAILS
  • Outlet: Sputnik Azerbaijan - Russian (archived)*
  • Date of publication: December 26, 2019
  • Outlet language(s): Russian
  • Reported in: Issue 178
  • Countries / regions discussed: Estonia, Russia
Tags:
Dmitry Kiselyov Sputnik

DISINFO: Sputnik Estonia and its employees are being persecuted

SUMMARY

This is the persecution, the real persecution, which is now being conducted against not only the Sputnik Estonia, but specifically, every employee who goes to work. Sputnik Estonia’s reporters did not violate the laws of the country and professional ethics.

RESPONSE

Recurring disinformation campaign aimed at the Estonian authorities. There is no persecution against Sputnik in Estonia as clarified by a recent interview given by the Estonian Minister of Foreign Affairs. Estonia is on the 11th place of Reporters without Borders Press freedom index. It's important to note that Estonia has not blocked Sputnik Estonia's website, as it is accessible and operational. The Minister of Foreign Affairs Urmas Reinsalu has emphasized that Estonia has not taken any measures against the portal's media content: "They are financial sanctions aimed at economic activity. I believe it to be justified. We have notified the European Commission's Legal Service. European agencies have said in the Commission that steps taken by Estonia in exercising sanctions policy are warranted." The agency has been forced to move out of its office in Tallinn because of its inability to pay the rent due to sanctions. In October 2019, Estonia-based branches of the foreign banks that operated the accounts of Rossiya Segodnya, the mother company of Sputnik, froze all its transfers, while other banks in Estonia refused to operate with the firm. Banks in Estonia are not the only institutions to have taken action against Rossiya Segodnya for this reason. In 2015, Barclays bank closed the account used by the agency in the UK. In 2016, Latvia's domain registry shut the website of Sputnik Latvia after receiving a letter of concern from the Latvian Foreign Ministry, which drew attention to Sputnik's coverage of Ukraine and routine denial of the embattled nation's territorial integrity. In July 2019, Latvian authorities blocked access to the online portal baltnews.lv, owned by Rossiya Segodnya, because of the EU sanctions. In mid-2019, a court in Vilnius ruled on blocking Sputnik Lithuania over copyright issues. See earlier disinformation cases alleging that Russian media is being discriminated in the Baltic states and that Baltic states’ policies equal to Third Reich. Further information on Sputnik's operations can be read in our article circling-the-earth.

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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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