Disinfo: EU is not publishing the coronavirus disinformation cases it accuses Russia of spreading

Summary

The European report points to a record “80 cases of Russian disinformation” that attacked the performance of national systems for monitoring and eliminating epidemics in Europe, according to the Financial Times. Likewise, the suspicions “published by Russia” about America’s role in the Corona issue can only be considered a campaign of misleading public opinion, as is understood from the report. However, a question arises here: Why have not all the 80 such cases been widely published, especially as Russia is “trying to spread the atmosphere of terror among European societies” and “spreading division” as the European Union claims? Do not such matters affect European national security in the eyes of Europeans?

It is always possible to invent anything when facts are not available. In this case the evidence is not necessary, but it is sufficient to put a “highly confidential” stamp and refer to high-level sources. Those who practice this will keep it a secret if they have nothing to offer. The reason is the absence of evidence and facts, that is, they have nothing to say … so simply.

Disproof

This is a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative denying that Russian media had been involved in spreading disinformation about the coronavirus.

It is simply not true that the EU has not published the Russian media cases of disinformation. As of 19 March, our database has collected and published over 110 corona-related disinformation cases in the public EUvsDisinfo database since 22 January 2020. These messages are characteristic of the Kremlin’s well-established strategy of using disinformation to amplify divisions, sow distrust and chaos, and exacerbate crisis situations and issues of public concern.

Here is a summary of the main disinformation messages Russian media (including official media) has been spreading about the coronavirus:

• Messages targeting domestic Russian audiences describe the virus as a form of foreign aggression, for instance claiming that the coronavirus originates in secret US or Western laboratories and emphasising that challenges coping with the virus mainly affect foreign and democratic countries, while Russia is fighting the outbreak
• Messages targeting international audiences (in English, Italian, Spanish and Arabic, among other languages) follow a different approach: they focus primarily on conspiracy theories about “global elites” deliberately weaponising or exploiting the virus for their own ends. Here the aim is to induce distrust in national and European authorities and healthcare systems, international institutions, and scientific experts, among others.
• Narratives describing the virus as man-made is present in disinformation targeting all audiences.

 

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue189
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 22/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: Arabic
  • Country: Russia, US
  • Keywords: coronavirus, Conspiracy theory, Biological weapons, European Union

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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Only authoritarian states and closed societies will be able to protect their populations from the coronavirus and from future pandemics

Globalism and the unipolar order are crumbling. In order to survive and cope with new challenges, nations must adopt a new model for the state, new forms of governance, and a new ideology. Nations must shift to an alternative, post-globalist, model of the state and society. The open society must become a closed society. Also necessary is an autoritarian state that exerts rigid centralised control over society, and a self-sufficient economic system. A rigid authoritarian state and closed society are necessary in order to protect a country’s population from the coronavirus and from future pandemic outbreaks.

Disproof

The article’s claims about the superiority of political authoritarianism and isolationist “closed societies” in preventing and controlling epidemics do not reflect reality. Authoritarian regimes, which tend to control and manipulate information and to limit the freedom of doctors and scientists to engage in international cooperation, are often an obstacle to the timely detection and containment of epidemic outbreaks.

A clear example is China’s deliberate cover-up of the early days of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan. The regime suppressed information about the virus and allowed it to spread unchecked in the crucial early days and weeks. The Chinese government censored and detained those doctors and whistleblowers who attempted to sound the alarm and warn their fellow citizens when they understood the gravity of the coronavirus threat.

Furthermore, the real antidote to the coronavirus pandemic (and to future epidemic outbreaks) is not to revert to nationalist isolationism and “closed societies” but to develop a global response.

A coordinated, cross-border effort of the scientific and medical community to  understand the virus, create cures and treatments, and speedily disseminate a vaccine across national borders, will end the pandemic.

Read here a previous case  claiming that democracy and freedom prevent Europe from fighting the virus effectively. 

 

Kyiv stops public transport, Nazis are patrolling the streets

Kyiv stopped public transportation except for essential personnel. The local authorities will involve organizations with a membership consisting almost exclusively of Nazis. These “activists” will check the travel permits of Ukrainian citizens, whether they use a mask and their IDs.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative about the involvement of Nazis in various layers of Ukrainian public life.

In fact, the mayor of Kyiv, Vitaliy Klitschko, said that during quarantine at least two National Police officers and one representative of the “Municipal Guard” would be present in all public transport.

The US produced coronavirus and its army spread it

The United States should respond to international allegations about its role in producing and spreading coronavirus and continuing its criminal policies against the Iranian people by continuing economic sanctions.

The US military may have brought the epidemic to Wuhan.

Disproof

Conspiracy theories about the 2019-nCoV coronavirus, there is no evidence that suggests that the coronavirus (2019-nCoV) is used as a weapon against other states or that it has been fabricated inside laboratories.

The virus was first reported in the Chinese city of Wuhan in central China and has been rapidly spreading with new cases being reported in almost every country around the world, including the United States and France, causing 292142 confirmed cases and 12784 deaths up until 22 March 2020.