Disinfo: The West cannot cope with freedom of opinion and imposes censorship

Summary

The West cannot cope with freedom of opinion and imposes censorship. Unfortunately, this is already a customary censorship for the West. They cannot cope with freedom of opinion. On the other hand, Russia remains the world champion when it comes to freedom of opinion: nowhere else is there such a wide range of opinions and statements. We have no fear.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin narrative claiming that the West imposes censorship and that Russia protects freedom of speech and the press. The West does not impose censorship. The European Union as a whole, is committed to respecting the freedom and pluralism of the media as well as the right to freedom of expression - which includes the right to receive and impart information without interference by public authority. This commitment is enshrined in Article 11 of the EU's Charter of Fundamental Rights. According to Reporters Without Borders, the freest countries in the world in terms of press freedom are predominantly United States, Canada and European countries, including Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Germany, Belgium, etc. Russia takes 149th place out of 180 countries, as of the 2020 World Press Freedom Index. Reporters Without Borders writes in its report on Russia's media landscape:

"What with draconian laws, website blocking and Internet cuts, the pressure on independent media has grown steadily since the big anti-government protests in 2011 and 2012. Leading independent news outlets have either been brought under control or throttled out of existence. As TV channels continue to inundate viewers with propaganda, the climate has become very oppressive for those who question the new patriotic and neo-conservative discourse, or just try to maintain quality journalism. (...) Murders and physical attacks against journalists continue to go unpunished – even if campaigns can achieve victories in the face of absurd accusations by the authorities, as in the case of Ivan Golunov, an investigative journalist released in June 2019 after being arrested on a trumped-up drug trafficking charge",

According to Freedom House, all western European and north American countries are "free" with a rating over 90 out of 100 on the index. All EU countries have a score of 70 or higher. On the contrary, Russia is not the world champion when it comes to freedom of opinion. With the index score 20 out of 100 Russian Global Freedom Status is 'not free'. See more similar disinfo narratives alleging that Western governments impose censorship and silence dissidents and that journalism is free in Russia.

publication/media

  • Reported in: Issue 211
  • DATE OF PUBLICATION: 11/09/2020
  • Outlet language(s) German
  • Countries and/or Regions discussed in the disinformation: EU, US, Ukraine, Russia
  • Keywords: West, Anti-Russian, Censorship, Freedom of speech, Dmitry Kiselyov, Media
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"Arrest" of 65 Russian planes for flights to Crimea is Kyiv's revenge for the Wagnerites

The office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine announced the “arrest” of 65 planes for their flights to Crimea. There is a version spreading on the Internet that these restrictions could be revenge for the Minsk’s surrender of 33 Russian citizens, whom Kyiv wanted to question.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative about Ukraine. There is no evidence to assume any connection between the seizure of Russian planes that flew to Crimea and the refusal to extradite Russian soldiers from Belarus to Ukraine. The "arrest" of the aircraft was due to their illegal visits to annexed Crimea. Since March 2014, Ukraine has closed the airspace over the occupied Crimean peninsula due to the inability to monitor flight safety. This was reported by the Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Prosecutor's Office of Crimea. Previously, Ukrainian law enforcement agencies had demanded compensation for flights over the territory of Crimea even before the events with the Russian private military soldiers ("Wagnerites") in Belarus. In 2017, the Ukrainian prosecutor's office of Crimea brought a respective lawsuit against Russia. Read earlier disinformation case about the arrest of Russian private military soldiers in Belarus: The West is involved in the detention of Russian citizens in Minsk.

Navalny's recovery disproves poisoning by Novichok

The German press writes about the supposedly new type of the Novichok. They write that it is a binary substance, that is, consisting of two components. But in order to bring such a substance into a combat state, an explosion is needed. And since there was no explosion in the case of Navalny, it means that there was no “Novichok” either. This can explain the blogger’s high speed of recovery. In any case, this could only be done by the Western special services, which have been working with substances of this type over the past 20 years. This assumption is confirmed by the fact that German military doctors immediately classified the test results. At the same time, Russia has not been working with such substances for 30 years.

Disproof

Recurring pro-Kremlin disinformation narrative on Alexei Navalny's poisoning. Clinical findings at the Charité hospital indicated that Navalny was poisoned with a substance from the group of cholinesterase inhibitors. Subsequent toxicological tests provided unequivocal evidence of a chemical nerve agent of the Novichok group in the blood samples of Alexei Navalny.

Novichok is a highly toxic nerve agent that slows the heart, paralyses the muscles used for breathing and — if the dose is big enough — can lead to death by asphyxiation. A smaller dose may result in seizures, neuromuscular weakness, liver failure and other damage. This has been presented in various other reports here, here and here. The claim about an explosion needed in the case of a binary substance is plainly silly: many glues function the same way - two substances are simply mixed. Navalny's coma was medically induced and did not constitute a symptom of poisoning. Several other confirmed Novichok victims were put in a coma and subsequently regained consciousness. In 1987 Andrey Zheleznyakov, a researcher attached to the Soviet chemical warfare programme, suffered an accidental exposure to a Novichok-type compound. The accident left him permanently disabled but he lived for another six years. In March 2018, Russian ex-spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yuliya fell victim to poisoning in Salisbury but recovered with intensive medical care as did a police officer who had been exposed when he visited their home to investigate. The UK authorities established that the assassination attempt had been carried out by two Russian intelligence operatives using Novichok. The following June, two individuals in Amesbury, England were accidentally exposed to Novichok contained in a fake perfume bottle. One of the victims survived.

Events in Belarus are organised by Poland, Lithuania, UK and various American foundations

All events in Belarus are organised by countries such as Poland, Lithuania, with the support of Great Britain and various American foundations – not Washington, not the White House, but American democrats, supporters of Soros, and so on. The Belarusian “revolution” has no chance of continuation, because “the rabid supporters of the overthrow Lukashenko, namely, Polish, Lithuanian politicians, are no longer supported by many other countries in Europe. Russia promised support to Belarus. Everyone in the West understands this.

Disproof

This is part of an ongoing Russian disinformation campaign on Belarus based on recurrent pro-Kremlin disinformation narratives, such as accusing other countries of interference and portraying popular protests against electoral fraud in the country as a Western-led colour revolution. It accuses Poland and Lithuania of a plan to intervene in the domestic affairs of Belarus, which is a severe violation of the principles of diplomacy and international relations. Unfounded statements about the US Democratic party's and Soros foundation's involvement in processes in Belarus. The countries of the EU or UK have nothing to do with the mass protests in Belarus. The protests erupted to contest the results of the presidential elections in Belarus on the 9th of August, which are considered fraudulent by a large part of Belarusian society. The European Union has said that the elections were neither free nor fair. Poland and Lithuania support the independence and territorial integrity of Belarus. Poland and Lithuania, as well as the EU, have expressed support to people protesting in Belarus. Read our past analysis discussing various pro-Kremlin media allegations that Lithuania, Poland, Ukraine, Soros and other foreign actors are behind protests in Belarus. Read other examples of similar messages: Brits, Poles and Americans are fomenting chaos in Belarus; The West supports a bloody post-election Maidan scenario in Belarus; The West wants to prepare Maidan in Belarus; Poland presented a plan of active interference in the domestic affairs of Belarus; Western countries and their domestic puppets aim at crushing Belarusian statehood, and The actions of the protesters in Belarus are controlled by foreign centres.