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

Summary

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.

Disproof

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.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 229
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 25/01/2021
  • Language/target audience: Polish
  • Country: EU, Latvia, Russia, Estonia, Poland
  • Keywords: social media, Democracy, Censorship, Anti-Russian, Dictatorship, Freedom of speech, Russophobia, Conspiracy theory

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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Polish authorities turned their country into the vanguard of the American imperialism

The Law and Justice Party used many schemes in order to come to power – among others, Russophobia and servility towards the USA. This party accepts the subordinate position of Poland and the fact that this country was turned into the vanguard of the American imperialism. The Polish decision-makers understand that the only way to establish a lasting alliance with the USA is to provide it with real benefits. The problem here is the fact that this process is very expensive for Poland. In the nearest time, there will be no changes in the Polish-American relations – the US knows how to count money and the Polish authorities are willing to spend it to buy the favour of the empire.

Disproof

This message is a part of the Kremlin’s widespread narrative about Russophobic US-controlled Poland. The Kremlin-controlled media regularly accuses the political elites of Poland of Russophobia and the implementation of anti-Russian policies. Within this narrative, the “Russophobic” policies of Poland are often explained by the claim that the United States fully controls the domestic and foreign policy of this country (presenting Poland as an American “puppet-state” or a “banana republic”).

The Polish authorities do not promote Russophobia or any type of “American Imperialism”.Poland is a sovereign state, which shapes its own foreign and domestic policies. The political, economic and military relations between Poland and the United States have a mutually beneficial character.

Poland uses the situation around Navalny as a pretext for the next anti-Russian attack

The Polish President Andrzej Duda suggested that the Head of the European diplomacy Josep Borrell should cancel his visit to Moscow [in connection to the situation with Navalny]. If we assume that President Duda indeed wants Navalny to be released, he should welcome the talks between European and Russian officials as they may conduct informal talks on this issue. Although, these words of President Duda are not about Navalny – it is only a pretext for the next anti-Russian attack.

Disproof

This message is a part of the Kremlin’s widespread narrative about Russophobic Poland. The Kremlin-controlled media regularly accuses the political elites of Poland of Russophobia and the implementation of anti-Russian policies. Within this narrative, the “Russophobic” policies of Poland are often explained by the claim that the United States fully controls the domestic and foreign policy of this country (presenting Poland as an American “puppet-state” or a “banana republic”).

The claim that the Polish authorities use the situation around Navalny for the next anti-Russian attacks and manifestation of loyalty to the USA is disinformation. On January 21, the predominant majority of the Polish Members of Parliament (438 out of 460) appealed to the Russian authorities to release Alexey Navalny and stop political repressions against him and his associates.

The West uses Navalny as a key factor in the political destabilisation of Russia

Today, we must admit that the most powerful special operation aimed at inspiring a prolonged political crisis in Russia has ended in a fiasco. The beginning of this “great campaign” was the loud “poisoning” of Alexei Navalny, after which this “fighter for truth” was openly put in the context of the geopolitical confrontation between the West and Russia. Then, Navalny was invited to Germany as a personal guest of Angela Merkel; “killing but not fully lethal” “Novichok” appeared; sanctions against Russia emerged; the American secret services published the tracking data of FSB officers. Everything points to the fact that the West perceives Navalny as a key factor for the destabilisation of its global enemy.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Alexey Navalny. The claim that Navalny is somehow used by the West and foreign special services for the political destabilisation of Russia is disinformation.

Anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny has long been the most prominent face of Russian opposition to President Vladimir Putin. His candidacy in the 2018 presidential election was banned by authorities over his conviction by a Russian court for embezzlement, which bars him from running for office. He has been arrested and imprisoned several times during his political career.