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Veto of Russian media: lack of respect for the freedom of the press

A hypocritical, cowardly, very dangerous act and a reflection of an abuse of power. That is how some journalists describe the European Commission’s decision to ban Russian state media within its territory. In their opinion, this “could be seen coming, they were just looking for the best opportunity to make public something that they had already thought about.”

 

Danay Galletti Hernandez

 

The European Commission’s decision to prevent the state businesses Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik broadcasting news in the region represents a lack of respect for press freedom and for democracy, in the opinion of experts today.

According to the journalist and director of the programme “Temas y Debates” (Topics and Debates), Eliecer Mora, the ban constitutes a way of pressurising and restrict the objective transmission of the media concerned. Moreover, it violates the right to information, enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

“They fear the truth and, obviously, that the news they sell to the world through their hegemony and control of platforms at their service is exposed as lies before the international community. With this ruling they are trying to curb the reach of RT and Sputnik and silence their message,” she told Prensa Latina.

In the Nicaraguan expert’s view, tho se channels reflect the real situation in Ukraine, the motives behind the peace-keeping operation launched by the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, with the aim of preventing a large-scale catastrophe and of stopping Ukraine’s militarisation, the terrorism and the genocide carried out since 2014.

“The order forms part of a package of sanctions which includes, among other measures, the closure of European Union airspace to Russian-owned aircraft and shows the inefficiency of their own propaganda machinery.

If they have to block those news broadcasters from the Eurasian nation, it means that their spokespeople are not having the desired impact,” she explains. According to Mora, in all the invasions involving the United States, the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the governments of those territories used the same formula of censorship to hide the murders of civilians and the destruction of historic heritage.

Mora points out that as a journalist she condemns “the shameful, vile and calculated act of limiting RT and Sputnik’s transmissions.”

No to freedom of the press

For his part, the editor of the digital portal El Tayacan and secretary-general of the National Confederation of Judicial Workers of Nicaragua, Carlos Lopez Tinoco, told Prensa Latina that any media initiative devoted to the censorship of thoughts or news is a threat to the free exercise of objective and truthful journalism.

For the broadcaster, neither RT nor Sputnik “have meddling, machiavellian interest in massive psychological destruction, nor do they kneel before large economic corporations”, hence the assault on them by the powers and organisations, self-proclaimed as democratic.

“The suspension of the Russian channels is an abuse of power, a cowardly act and sends a dreadful message to the world. Likewise, the adoption of this sort of posture compromises democratic and ethical principles and their own credibility and puts a gag on the freedom of expression,” he stated.

Yet again, he says, the large corporate broadcasters decide and produce “what we should know”; they direct their policies towards manipulation, disinformation, ready-made scripts and lines, based on political and ideological questions and not on respect for the press and the veracity of the facts.

“RT and Sputnik broadcast events corroborated on the ground and provide responsible coverage. We are witnessing an unprecedented episode in history, where the desperation of the European Union powers is leading towards mutism and the contravention of international law,” says Lopez Tinoco.

Hypocrisy and danger

Giorgio Trucchi, an Italian journalist and political analyst based in Central America, describes the European Commission’s decision as hypocritical and very dangerous and.

In his view, the prohibition of Russian state media “could be seen coming, they were just looking for the best opportunity to make public something that they had already thought about.”

“When the bloc’s members talk about other territories like Venezuela, Nicaragua, Cuba or Bolivia, with policies and governments which are not aligned to the interests of the United States and the European Union, they justify their sanctions by saying freedom of expression does not exist and alluding to a supposed persecution of journalists and the constant impediment of their ‘independent’ work,” he says.

In other words, states Trucchi, they demand that other countries act in ways with which they themselves are not consistent. He mentions that the attitude towards closing communicative spaces affects Latin America, for example the multi-state television news network Telesur in nations led by right-wing governments.

“When Mauricio Macri won the election in Argentina, the first thing he did was cut off that channel’s television signal.

After the coup d’etat against Evo Morales in Bolivia, Jeanine Anez’s de facto government took the same measure,” he explains.

The Italian analyst referred to the fact that in the days after the start of the conflict what was observed was that the principal fake news, videos and photos of bombings and dead people in Ukraine were from other situations in the past, “none of these false news items came from Russian media, it is the Western and United States press that misinforms.” (PL)

(Translated by Philip Walker – Email: philipwalkertranslation@gmail.com) – Photos: Pixabay

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