Disinfo: The freedom of speech is purged from Western media outlets

Summary

Freedom of speech has long been purged from Western media outlets. Every journalist and editor was told how to do their job and those who didn’t get it were driven out of the profession. Now, central media outlets are more or less controlled and do what they’re told: push LGBT rights, global warming, Greta Thunberg, the arrival of migrants into Europe, chemical attacks in Syria, Russian interference, protests in Hong Kong, and basically whatever fits with the current political agenda.

Against the rapid deterioration of “soft power” and the collapse of liberal ideology in the West, we are starting to see a rather strict censorship being imposed to protect the propaganda machine that has been so painstakingly created.

Disproof

This is a conspiracy theory, presented without evidence, pushing a common pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that there is a degradation of democracy and free speech in the West. Pro-Kremlin outlets frequently direct attacks against many different countries for allegedly lacking free speech and imposing censorship on media, including Germany, Finland, Denmark, the Baltics, and France, among others.

According to Reporters Without Borders, the freest countries in the world in terms of press freedom are predominantly European countries, including Norway, Finland, Sweden, Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Estonia, Portugal, Germany, etc.

On the other hand, Russia is ranked as “not free”, according to Freedom House’s Freedom of the Press report. According to Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index, Russia is ranked 149th among 180 countries. 38 journalists have been murdered in Russia since 1993 for preparing investigative materials on corruption, politics and human rights violations. Almost all leading media outlets in the country are controlled by persons affiliated with the authorities or the Kremlin.

See similar cases that there is a deterioration of democracy in the West, the EU and the US violate the rights of Russian journalists, and the ECHR and UN Convention on Human Rights strongly restrict freedom of expression.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 188
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 05/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: English
  • Country: US
  • Keywords: Mainstream media, West, Democracy, Freedom of speech

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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The MH17 trial suffers from political amnesia

In the investigation of the MH17 case, there are a number of indisputable facts that rebut the “anti-Russian explanations” entirely. Nevertheless, the political games force the trial to disregard all other explanations of the crash, even the obvious ones. This “amnesia” is manifest, for example, in the fact that the investigators permanently “forget” that the aircraft might been have shot down by an air-to-air-missile from a Ukrainian fighter jet.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative aiming to discredit the inquiry of the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) into the downing of flight MH17.

The Joint Investigation Team (JIT) - which is comprised of the Dutch Public Prosecution Service officials and the Dutch police, along with police and criminal justice authorities from Australia, Belgium, Malaysia and Ukraine - has concluded that flight MH17 was shot down on 17 July 2014 by a missile of the 9M38 series, launched by a BUK-TELAR, from farmland in the vicinity of Pervomaiskiy. At that time, the area was controlled by pro-Russian fighters. The BUK-TELAR was brought in from the territory of the Russian Federation and subsequently, after having shot down flight MH17, was taken back to the Russian Federation. The Dutch-led JIT has concluded that the BUK-TELAR used to down MH17 originates from the 53rd Anti Aircraft Missile brigade, a unit of the Russian army from Kursk in the Russian Federation.

White Helmets produce another fake chemical attack video

The Russian Reconciliation Centre for Syria stated on Wednesday that a group of up to 15 terrorists had attempted to carry out a chemical attack in Syria’s Idlib province.

Earlier in the day, the Reconciliation Centre stated that the White Helmets had finished filming a staged provocation after delivering 400 litres of a chemical agent to the site.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin conspiracy theory painting the White Helmets as terrorists and shifting blame for chemical attacks in Syria away from Damascus.

Shortly after the April 2018 chemical attack in Douma, the Russian military staff in Syria began publishing regular "updates" regarding the provocations, false-flag attacks, and video hoaxes which the White Helmets supposedly perpetrate across rebel-held Syrian territory. These updates are often accompanied by detailed production notes concerning the actors' salaries, the number of videos shot (e.g. "at least nine"), image quality, target audience (e.g. the United Nations, mainstream outlets, social media), and so forth.

Unauthorised protesting in Sweden carries a ten-year prison term

Prison terms in Russia are not very long, from 6-12 months. Yet in some places, like Sweden, merely joining unauthorised protests involving 12 people counts as mass unrest, which is punishable by incarceration for up to 10 years. Russia doesn’t have anything like this.

Disproof

An unfounded claim to depict Russia as more democratic than other countries and portray the West in a negative light, where freedoms are restricted. The right to organise manifestations is protected by the Swedish constitution. Permission to stage a demonstration is needed only within city limits and in areas of industry, ports etc. For organising a demonstration without permission, punishment is, according to Swedish law on public order, up to six months prison. The right to participate is still protected by the consitution. According to Swedish criminal code, staging violent riots is punished with up to four years prison.

For similar cases attempting to portray Western countries as being undemocratic and restricting liberties, see for example here, here, here, and here.