Disinfo: The persecution of the Russian media in Latvia is a punitive action of Russophobic nature

Summary

The persecution of the Russian media in Latvia is nothing more than a punitive action of Russophobic nature which violates the norms of a democratic society, restricts press freedom and freedom of speech.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation message about the Baltic States.

In 2016, Latvia's domain registry shut the website of Sputnik Latvia after receiving a letter of concern from the Latvian Foreign Ministry, which drew attention to Sputnik's coverage of Ukraine and routine denial of Ukraine's territorial integrity. In July 2019, Latvian authorities blocked access to the online portal baltnews.lv, owned by Rossiya Segodnya, citing EU sanctions against Russia. In 2020 Latvia has banned the state-owned Russian television channel RT, saying it is controlled by an individual - Dmitriy Kiselyov, who is under EU sanctions. According to the Electronic Mass Media Council (NEPLP), Latvia's national media watchdog, RT and the network of channels operated by it are under Kiselyov's "effective control" and has attempted to present Latvia as a failed state.

Sputnik was created in Russia by a Presidential decree with the aim to “report on the state policy of Russia abroad”. Sputnik is a regular source of pro-Kremlin disinformation. Baltnews site tries to represent itself as an independent media but in 2017 an investigation showed that it is linked to the Kremlin’s global disinformation network. Baltnews is connected to the Rossiya Segodnya state-owned media company, which includes Sputnik News.

Read similar cases claiming that Russian media are being discriminated in Baltic states and that the Baltic states are persecuting the Russian media.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 225
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 04/12/2020
  • Outlet language(s) Italian
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: Russia, Latvia
  • Keywords: Freedom of speech, Media, Sputnik, Sanctions, Russophobia, Baltic states
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For NATO, Ukraine is important as a buffer zone, but not as a member of Alliance

All the statements of Ukrainian politicians that they were promised that Ukraine will be accepted into the Alliance are PR and nothing more. For NATO countries, Ukraine is important as a buffer zone, but not as a member of the Alliance.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation about Ukraine and its cooperation with NATO.

Ukraine is a strategic partner for NATO in many areas. Since the 1990s, relations between NATO and Ukraine have developed into one of NATO’s most influential partnerships. Relations were strengthened with the signing of the 1997 Charter on a Distinctive Partnership, which established the NATO-Ukraine Commission (NUC). The Declaration of 2009 to Complement the NATO-Ukraine Charter mandated the NUC, through Ukraine’s Annual National Programme, to underpin Ukraine’s efforts to take forward reforms aimed at implementing Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

EU bureaucrats want to limit the use of Christmas symbols

The bureaucrats of the European Union have declared that a large number of Christian symbols on the streets and various offices might hurt the feelings of refugees and migrants from the Middle East. Thus, there is a need to limit the use of such symbols. /…/ In Brussels, the main Christmas tree has been replaced with an LED-construction, representing the “Winter holidays”

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative, forwarding hostile narratives on migrants, threatening Christmas and New Years Eve traditions, and about the decline of Christianity in Europe.

Neither has “EU Bureacrats” declared a limitation on the use of Christian symbols, nor has Brussels forbidden the Christmas tree (a symbol, without relation to Christianity). The Brussels Christmas tree of 2020 can be observed here on webcam. Municipal authorities in Brussels and most other Belgian and European cities have cancelled Christmas markets due to the COVID-19.

Italian town forbids Christmas carols not to insult migrants

In the Italian town of Rozzano near Milan, the headmaster of a school forbade a Christmas concert and suggested that Christmas should be observed without the traditional carols, as migrant children previous years during singing stood silently along the walls. In German Eschweiler tolling church bells were forbidden when migrants approached the municipal authorities with a request to cancel sounds that were foreign to them. Schools in Spain and Italy removed the crucifixes from the walls of the same reasons.

Disproof

Recurring disinformation narrative, forwarding hostile narratives on migrants, threatening Christmas and New Years Eve traditions, and about the decline of Christianity in Europe.

Several of the cases, mentioned in the article, belong to a collection of anti-migrant “urban legends” that are circulated in European right wing media. The case from Rozzano has been debunked several times, since it appeared in 2015. The case from German Eschweiler seems to be entirely fiction. Connecting claims to concrete, small places far away serves to lend a tone of authenticity to the disinformation.