About freedom of Speech and Media

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The restrictions imposed on dissemination of information and freedom of speech are a violation of the UN Charter, the Rules of the Commission on Human Rights

By Vladislav Perevalov, journalist

Seven centuries long Europeans expressed criticism of Russia, which was mainly based on the subjective judgments of those Western monarchs for whom Russia was incomprehensible and very independent; The West did not want to accept that Russia was constantly striving for independence from Western Europe, and even did not want to abandon Orthodoxy. And in the last hundred years, Western states, including, by the way, the Third Reich and its vassals, have repeatedly raised the issue of the absence of certain guarantees of freedom and democracy, including freedom of speech, in Russia.

Western politicians, philosophers and journalists have repeatedly criticised Russia for being unable to provide legal guarantees for this freedom of speech. And this was despite the fact that between 1938 and 1945 the fascisation of Europe completely ruled out any manifestations of democratic freedoms!

Since the early 2000s, the West has been arguing that freedom of speech is basically impossible in Russia, that Russia is an authoritarian state, as the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union have always been. And this is despite the existence of various parties and diverse mass media in Russia.

But in the West, the situation now is just the opposite: the events of the last decade have shown that the vast majority of Western media always sing in unison demonstrating rare unanimity, when covering a political event taking place either inside NATO countries or outside this organisation. But more importantly, such unanimity is manifested only when the Western media reflect the official position of the United States or NATO as a whole on any issue of international life.

As for a point of view that differs from what today we call the mainstream, that is, a pro-government position that is literally being imposed on Western society, then such a point of view is hushed up in every possible way, sharply criticised as anti-patriotic and anti-state, and the media which permitted itself such liberty, immediately suffer ostracism. The flow of information from foreign media that is at odds with the local mainstream position is subject to all sorts of barriers which are illegal as a rule, – either due to local laws or subject to international law.

Recall that in the modern world, freedom of speech and freedom of the press are considered one of the most important foundations of a democratic state. Maintaining the pluralism of public opinion, developing a dialogue within society and creating the necessary conditions for the functioning of the political system is possible only with effective guarantees for the exercise of freedom of speech and freedom of the press. But look at the USA. A country that calls itself the pillar of democracy, its conductor and guarantor, has been violating this democratic principle of freedom of the press for many years. Two categories of mass media have formed here: one, being supported and fed by the elite, obediently repeats and develops everything that is consistent with the goals of state policy and, accordingly, is the mainstream; and another, being squeezed to the periphery of media activity and constantly attacked by the mainstream, is slowly but steadily losing financial support and eventually surrendering to the mercy of the winner.

As you know, the restrictions imposed on dissemination of information and freedom of speech in general are a violation of the UN Charter, the Rules of the Commission on Human Rights, and the laws of most countries that call themselves democratic. But in recent years, these democracies, with the ease of totalitarian regimes, have restricted information coming from both the domestic and international media only because this information contains ideas that do not coincide with the official position tacitly approved by the authorities.

It is impossible not to recognise the correctness of the public in a number of countries, which draws attention, for example, to the policy of Facebook, the world’s largest social network. This network has long been blatantly censoring Russian content under various clearly far-fetched pretexts.

Another egregious example of the attitude of the authorities of “democratic countries” towards Russian news agencies is their fight against RT and Sputnik. Back in 2016, the European Parliament adopted a resolution on EU strategic communication to counteract propaganda against it by third parties, which included the Sputnik agency and the RT TV channel into the main sources of information threats to the European Union – and in the absence of any reasonable grounds! In 2017, the CIA and the International Development Committee of the UK House of Commons published reports in which RT and Sputnik were considered as unscrupulous media, disseminating biased and unreliable materials.

From what has been said, it follows that the authorities of Western countries, with the help of their media, regulators and even law enforcement agencies, have long declared war on objective information that Russian agencies, television and radio channels addressed to the international community. Since the beginning of the shelling in the Donbass, the world has been living under the conditions of Western hysteria about Russia’s informational influence on political processes in other states and the alleged destructive role of the Russian media on European peace and stability.

In 2019, the Vilnius District Administrative Court approved the decision of the Lithuanian Commission on Television and Radio Broadcasting to block access to the Sputnik Lithuania website, justified by the need to stop unauthorised publication of copyrighted content on that resource. That same year, RT was dropped from two US broadcast networks covering densely populated US areas such as New York, New Jersey, San Diego, Los Angeles, and Chicago. The adoption of such a decision was due to the inexpediency of providing services on distribution of a television signal in the context of wide availability of the Internet. Not only in Russia, but also in a number of other countries, this action was regarded as an undisguised manifestation of censorship.

All these actions of the state bodies of Western countries have demonstrated to the world community that “democracies” are trying to isolate their citizens from any point of view that does not coincide with the official one, do not give them the opportunity to learn alternative positions regarding burning problems both on the international stage and within any Western country. It is not surprising that Russian journalists working in these countries, experience serious difficulties when they try to collect local opinions on this or that issue: as a rule, these citizens are completely separated from global information that is important both for their country and the whole world.

The Russian-Ukrainian conflict has caused new hysteria in the Western media. The result was a situation bordering on complete absurdity. Subsidiaries hastily established by Western media, thousands of stringers and bloggers paid not only by Western news agencies, but also by the NATO apparatus and the military departments of the Atlantic Alliance member countries, have created an opaque smoke screen that cut off both Ukraine and Western Europe as a whole from objective real-time information. Fox News TV presenter Tucker Carlson from the US, however, took it upon himself to say that the largest corporations operating in the information field are now closely cooperating with the intelligence agencies and control all information coming from Ukraine. And anyone who tries to express their opinion which differs from what they need, is censored around the world.

First of all, such censorship is applied to television programs and performances that are most popular both in Russia and abroad. Many viewers who tried to watch the program Evening with Vladimir Solovyov on the YouTube channel heard the following phrase: “Unfortunately, YouTube has removed this program at the request of the copyright holder.” The speeches of Yuriy Podolyaka, the military and political expert from Sevastopol, who was listened to with interest by tens of thousands of viewers not only in Russia and Ukraine, but also in Western European countries, were deleted from YouTube. The flow of information that contributed to the understanding of the situation in and around Ukraine has narrowed down to a stream of lies and fabrications. Observers reasonably note that a one-sided assessment of what is happening will inevitably lead to serious mistakes in making political and military decisions, many of which, by the way, have already been made.

Photo: Nijwam Swargiary

The scale of opposition to objective information has significantly outgrown even those that took place during the Cold War. As a result of this, there is every reason to say that a massive information war has been launched against Russia, which includes not only the distortion of facts and numerous provocative stuffing, but also the distortion of historical facts and the demonisation of the Russian people. The Western media gave rise to slightly veiled Nazi slogans that Russia has no right to life, that the Russian people are not like others, because they are the bearer of evil, barbarism, and violence. Let us note that such speeches are heard from the mouths of politicians in respectable Europe, including, which is the worst of all, German politicians.

Creating the image of a Russian person as a carrier of an inhumane ideology being far from the ideal of a Western layman and generating aggression already by virtue of their genetic code, is the current task of the aggressive Western media generously paid by the US military concerns and the Western intelligence agencies. But they don’t stop there. A cyber attack has begun on every person living in Russia, and on every Russian living abroad. For example, public networks reported that Russian citizens and Russian residents of European countries who are trying to watch the programs of Russian socio-political channels or individual political and military experts no longer face only content blocking, but the threat of dangerous viruses sent to them from the territory of Ukraine and the Western European countries. This aggressive struggle against freedom of speech and freedom of television and radio information, as we see, has acquired the character of mass individual terror.

Two directions can be distinguished within the framework of the information war launched by the West against Russia. One of them is directly related to the events in Ukraine. It includes any one-sided, extremely unreliable information about the actions of the Russian troops, the demonisation of Russian soldiers, fakes of the widest range. In this direction, the European countries and the countries outside Europe drawn into the orbit of the United States, are taking concerted action together with the Ukrainian media.

But there is another area in which the United States and other NATO member countries are particularly active today, making incredible efforts in agitation and propaganda work. We are talking about cooperation between Russia and China and the problem of biological laboratories in Ukraine.

Actually, attempts to worsen relations between Russia and China have always been the task of NATO, but only recently the Western media have decided to resort to large-scale fakes for that purpose. One example is a photograph of an allegedly unexploded Kinzhal, or “dagger”, missile, which Russia used to attack Kramatorsk, as published by CNN, the American television corporation. But the picture shows a Tochka-U missile which is in service with the Armed Forces of Ukraine! The Russian Kinzhals have dual fins near the end, while the Ukrainian missile has single fins near the middle. However, no one at CNN analysed or compared anything. When international experts confirmed after all that it was Tochka-U and not Kinzhal, a new fake appeared that it was a missile in service with the troops of the Russian Federation. In Russia, these old missiles were disposed of long ago, but the Western media continued to promote their idea. And only when the Italian journalists made a close-up photograph of the number on the missile and compared it with the numbers of other similar missiles used by the Armed Forces of Ukraine during the hostilities in Ukraine, all the Western media suddenly lost their interest in Kramatorsk.

The second topic that today attracts the attention of the US administration, the US intelligence community, and the media obedient to the authorities, includes 30 biolaboratories in Ukraine engaged in preparations for biological warfare, but not in sanitary and epidemiological problems, as they say in the US. NATO is doing everything possible to prevent a wide discussion of this topic in the media, but sooner or later it will inevitably catch the main focus of the world press and become the most discussed subject among the world community.

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