Disinfo: “La Stampa” is notoriously Russophobic and journalist Jacopo Iacoboni a specialist in spreading Russophobia

Summary

Russia sent 16 airplanes carrying assistance and highly specialised personnel to help our country fight the coronavirus epidemic. The people warmly welcomed out neighbour. But someone did not like this. Jacopo Iacoboni, who specialises in spreading the germs of Russophobia, a highly infectious disease, wrote an article against Russia for “La Stampa”,  a notoriously Russophobic newspaper. He accused Russia of sending this assistance not to help Italy but to exploit our misfortunes, to infiltrate Russian military intelligence agents into our barracks. He based his accusations on mysterious sources, probably close to the Atlantic Council.

This understandably irritated Moscow.  First the Russian ambassador in Italy responded, then the Defence Ministry’s spokesman.  As a result, Iacoboni became the champion of press freedom “threatened by Russia”!

Disproof

Emerging pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that Russia has become a target of a Western disinformation campaign related to the coronavirus pandemic.

This narrative is consistent with the recurrent narrative aimed at discrediting mainstream Western media by claiming it is dominated by Russophobia and spreads fake news. It is also consistent with the propaganda theme that seeks to discredit any critical views of Russian foreign or domestic policies as “Russophobia”.  By labelling them “Russophobia”, pro-Kremlin outlets degrade such views as irrational and not worthy of a serious reply.

On the 25th of March 2020, the Italian daily newspaper La Stampa published an article on the equipment and personnel (100 mostly military specialists in bacteriological warfare) sent recently by Russia to support Italy in its fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

The article posed a series of questions about the real motives behind Moscow’s coronavirus assistance operation in Italy and reported that, in the opinion of unnamed highly placed Italian officials, the Russian aid was mostly of limited value to Italy’s efforts to fight the epidemic.

Another La Stampa piece later reported the concerns of some military and security experts that Russia’s aid operation in Italy could be used for intelligence purposes by the GRU (Russian military intelligence).

The Russian Ministry of Defence spokesman subsequently issued a statement accusing La Stampa of spreading Russophobic disinformation. The MOD statement also contained thinly veiled threats against the newspaper and the author of the article. Read Italy's response here and European Commission's Vice-President Věra Jourová's here.

Read similar cases claiming that the Italian newspaper “La Stampa” spreads Russophobic fake news on Russian Coronavirus aid to Italy and that NATO is waging a disinformation campaign against Russia’s COVID-19 aid to Italy.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 192
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 07/04/2020
  • Language/target audience: Italian
  • Country: Italy, Russia
  • Keywords: coronavirus, fake news, Russophobia

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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Disproof

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Disproof

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