DISINFO: The era of liberal democracy and freedom of speech is over – corporations and states are unified in promotion of censorship
  • Outlet: pl.sputniknews.com (archived)*
  • Date of publication: January 25, 2021
  • Outlet language(s): Polish
  • Reported in: Issue 229
  • Countries / regions discussed: EU, Poland, Estonia, Russia, Latvia
social media Dictatorship Anti-Russian Censorship Democracy Freedom of speech Conspiracy theory Russophobia

DISINFO: The era of liberal democracy and freedom of speech is over – corporations and states are unified in promotion of censorship


Sometimes, corporate censorship is not sufficient and the state law-enforcement agencies are called for help. In these situations, the removal of someone from the public debate has not a virtual, but a physical character. A number of Russian journalists were expelled from some countries without any actual reason (Leonid Sviridov working in Poland; Russian correspondents working in Latvia and Estonia). In such situations, the omnipotent state institutions assist the all-powerful corporations.

Many years after the collapse of undemocratic regimes in Europe, new authoritarianism emerges in this part of the world. Today, we appear in the grip of two censorship forces – on the one hand, it is big private capital; on the other hand, the state administration. There are no serious discrepancies between these forces as they share a method of management based on fear: initially, fear of terrorism (Islamophobia) and Russia (Russophobia); recently, fear and anxiety caused by the pandemic. Thus, the era of liberal democracy and the freedom of speech is over – today, people criticising the system can be deleted virtually and with time, they can be physically eliminated.


Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that the West imposes censorship through its state institutions and private social media (such as Facebook and Twitter).

The claim about the emergence of a new authoritarian regime in Europe based on censorship imposed by the state administration and social networks is disinformation.

The European Union as a whole is committed to respecting the freedom and pluralism of the media as well as the right to freedom of expression - which includes the right to receive and impart information without interference by public authorities. This commitment is enshrined in Article 11 of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights.

According to Reporters Without Borders, the freest countries in the world in terms of press freedom are predominantly the United States, Canada and European countries, including Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, etc. Russia takes 149th place out of 180 countries, as of the 2020 World Press Freedom Index.

This message also promotes the Kremlin narrative about the unfair persecution against Russian journalists in Poland, Latvia and Estonia. In the Baltic states, Sputnik and RT are being accused of spreading disinformation, violating copyrights and acting as a propaganda instrument. In the case of Leonid Sviridov, the Polish special services started to investigate his activities in 2014 because he was suspected of espionage in favour of the Russian special services.

Read similar disinformation messages about the Freedom of Speech in Western countries - The West cannot cope with freedom of opinion and imposes censorship; The freedom of speech is purged from western media outlets, Americans and Europeans do not have freedom of speech anymore and CIA-influenced Facebook introduces the mechanism of preventive censorship of Sputnik.


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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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