Disinfo: The French government systematically lied to the population

Summary

In France for 50-60 years when there were health crises, the government lied to society.  When Chernobyl happened in 1984, the German authorities told to be careful and to protect oneself, and the French minister said all is well, the Chernobyl cloud stopped at the French border.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative that Western governments cannot be trusted to manage a major accident/crisis. The narrative that the "Chernobyl cloud stopped at the French borders" is so well spread in France that is accepted as a cliché.

In the early days after the nuclear accident, in April 1986 not 1984 as stated on Sputnik, environmental associations and journalists spread the idea that the French Minister of Health or Pierre Pellerin, the Director of the Central Service for Protection against Ionising Radiation, said that the "cloud stopped at the French borders". This statement was never made. Pierre Pellerin won several defamation cases against NGOs and Media on this matter. Newspapers such as Le Parisien or Le Point admitted their mistake and explained how this false rumour started.

See a previous case implying that the French government is incompetent.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 189
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 18/03/2020
  • Language/target audience: French
  • Country: France
  • Keywords: fake news, Chernobyl
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The US ambassador was evacuated from Moldova

Diplomats from the US embassy in Moldova and the citizens of the United States were evacuated. More than that, the US Ambassador to Moldova, Dereck Hogan, went overseas on March 16, one day before the state of emergency was announced. Did he know anything?

Disproof

This is a false claim that capitalises on the coronavirus pandemic to spread a conspiracy theory about the US and specifically the US ambassador to Moldova. Spreading conspiracy theories about US in context of the coronavirus has emerged as a recurring theme in the pro-Kremlin disinformation campaign around the outbreak.

After speculation emerged that Ambassador Dereck J. Hogan was leaving the country, the US Embassy published the following statement on its Facebook page: "The United States Embassy in Chisinau continues to operate. Ambassador Dereck J. Hogan and the Embassy's American and Moldovan staff members remain in Chisinau, working to maintain the strong bilateral relationship the United States and Moldova have enjoyed for years."

In Kyiv, during the quarantine, the far right will check transport and documents of citizens

The ultra-right-wing organisation “Municipal Guard” will monitor order in Kyiv during the quarantine period. The “Guard” is ordered to “ensure public order and the implementation of restrictive measures in Kyiv.” Also, nationalists from the Guard will check transport to ensure no-one travels without special passes.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Nazi Ukraine, the influence of far-right movements and its power. It's also one of the narratives about COVID-19 trying to disparage, or question, measures taken to curb the spread of the virus.

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.

Germany called for lifting sanctions against Russia because of coronavirus

Germany called for the lifting of sanctions against Russia because of the coronavirus. Germany should rethink its attitude towards Russia and lift unproductive sanctions in light of the new coronavirus pandemic.

Disproof

Misleading title and the text that give readers the false impression that lifting sanctions on Russia is the position of the German authorities. It also pushes a recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative that sanctions against Russia are senseless and ineffective.

In fact, the sanctions from the US and the EU (including Germany) do not aim to punish Russia or the Russian people but were introduced to send a clear signal to the Russian government after Russia's illegal annexation of the Crimean peninsula, deployment of armed formations in eastern Ukraine, and the downing of the Malaysian passenger plane MH17.