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EU journalists: Direct responsibility for war against Ukraine lies with Russian media

"Russian audience hear about the "Nazis, who exist only in the maniacal consciousness of a weak coward locked in a deep bunker."

EU journalists: Direct responsibility for war against Ukraine lies with Russian media
Photo: screenshot

The leaders of EU journalists' unions have published a letter to the Russian media urging them not to support Russia's war against Ukraine.

Radio Svoboda reports that the text of the letter was published in Russian and English by the Lithuanian Journalists' Union on 22 March 2022.

"You, the Russian media, have direct and immediate responsibility for this war unleashed by the Putin regime. For many years, you have ignored an important journalism principle: information verification. Instead, you broadcasted lies from the Kremlin and added more to it," - says the statement.

Journalists recalled the disinformation in the Russian media during Russia's aggression against Georgia in 2008 and the occupation of Crimea in 2014. Now, they say, the Russian audience hears about "Nazis who exist only in the maniacal consciousness of a weak coward who locked himself in a deep bunker, far even from his own accomplices."

According to European media unions, despite possible repressions by the Russian authorities, journalists still have the opportunity to refuse to broadcast propaganda.

"We see very clearly that Russian troops are committing war crimes, and we are helping to gather evidence of this," - says the statement.

Please do not waste time on useless talk shows and long stories in style "What shall we do to avoid sanctions." Tell directly why these sanctions were implemented. If you are not brave enough to do so, leave: remain on sick leave, take a vacation or take unpaid leave. In a couple of days, people left without information drugs, alone with empty shelves in the supermarket, will reach the necessary conclusions on their own," - say the authors of the letter.

They also remind of the responsibility for spreading Kremlin disinformation, referring to an investigation initiated by the Hague criminal court following Ukraine's lawsuit.

"Russian prisoners of war are already testifying that their commanders deceived them, and so did Russian television and radio. These testimonies will be sufficient grounds for opening criminal cases against those who were broadcasting and writing false reports sharing lies of those who started the war." - European journalists remind.

They give the example of Hans Friche, a Nazi propagandist who ran the radio of the Third Reich, for which he was sentenced to imprisonment and died in prison.

The letter was signed by: Chairman of the Belarusian Association of Journalists, Andrei Bastunets; President of the Estonian Journalists' Union, Helle Tiikmaa; Chairman of the National Council for Public Access Channels of Germany, Dr. Wolfgang Ressmann; Member of the Board of the Latvian Union of Journalists, Imants Liepins; Head of the Board of the Latvian Association of Journalists, Ilya Kozins; Chairman of the Lithuanian Union of Journalists, Danius Radzevičius; Chairman of the Polish Association of Journalists, Krzysztof Skowronski.

According to the polls' opinion, 71% of Russians are proud of the fact that Russia is at war with Ukraine.

Russian media is forbidden to call the war against Ukraine a "war" but only a "special operation" which purpose is to "denazificate Ukraine." Official TV channels and the media also spread fakes about the "capitulation" of Ukrainians. Instead, even in the cities controlled by the Russian occupiers, people continue to resist them and join protests to support Ukraine. News like these are not broadcasted on Russian TV channels, neither are videos of interrogations of captured Russian military and photos of eliminated occupiers and their burning vehicles and equipment.

Publications about the occupiers killed in Ukraine are considered to be "discreditation of Russian troops" in Russia. Sharing this information leads to up to 15 years in prison.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Serhiy Lavrov, said that having the US support Ukraine creates "ethnically oriented" biological weapons. The Ministry of Defense of Russia also reported on capturing "experimental" birds from Ukraine, which allegedly can spread "bioagents that can selectively affect different ethnic groups."

In 2014, the Russian media called the Russian occupation of Crimea and parts of Donbas "liberation," and the pro-Russian terrorists who were assigned to control the occupied cities were called "opolchientsy" [people who resist]. The propagandists justified any military action against our country by "protecting the Russian-speaking population." Putin's statements about "genocide" became a "reason" for the invasion.

In the summer of 2014, at the height of the Russian-Ukrainian war, a story about a "crucified boy" was broadcast on Russia's First Channel. In the video, the woman said she "saw" the execution of a small child in the central square of Sloviansk. The story turned out to be a fake. TV presenter of the channel, Irada Zeynalova, commented on the story and said that journalists "did not have any evidence that proves it," but that it was "a real story of a real woman." There were no apologies for the fake spread.

At the beginning of April 2021, Russian propaganda began to spread the story of a little boy who died from an explosion of ammunition in the village of Oleksandrivske, located on the outskirts of Yenakiievo (occupied territory). Even though the village is located 14 kilometers from the front line, the Russians claim that the boy died from an explosion of a bomb dropped from a Ukrainian helicopter.

To justify the aggression against Ukraine, the Russian media also use the topic of the Russian language and the "protection" of the Russian-speaking population. Russian politicians and the President of RF, Volodymyr Putin, constantly talk about it on TV talk shows.

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