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Latvian MEP warns resolution on Russian propaganda going beyond red line

November 23, 2016, 4:47 UTC+3 STRASBROURG
The resolution ran counter to the principle of freedom of the mass media, Latvian MEP Tatjana Zdanoka said
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© EPA/VALDA KALNINA

STRASBROURG, November 23. /TASS/. European Parliament crosses the red line as it discusses a draft resolution on counteraction thirds parties’ propaganda, Latvian MEP Tatjana Zdanoka said on Tuesday night as she took the floor at the parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg.

She pointed out the European Parliament had passed resolutions criticizing the Russian people and Russia in the past, too, but the text as abusive in terms of form and contents as the one of the aforesaid resolution was something new for the European Parliament.

The resolution ran counter to the principle of freedom of the mass media, she said, adding that while the European Parliament claimed Russia was utilizing a range of instruments like multi-language channels, other countries resorted to similar methods as well as

"It’s impossible to understand what happens if you watch only channels like CNN, BBC, Euronews," she said.

The EU’s High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said in the course of debates on the draft resolution the EU counter-propaganda policy aimed to improve the situation with plurality in the media in the East and South and to promulgate the necessary networks, which would help journalists to their job.

On October 10, the European Parliament’s committee of foreign affairs endorsed a report on counteraction to propaganda. The document titled ‘EU Strategic Communication to Counteract Propaganda Against It by Third Parties’ and drafted by Polish MEP Anna Fotyga accuses Russia of a long range of alleged follies and transgressions like the spreading of "disinformation and propaganda seeking to maintain or increase Russia’s influence to weaken and split the EU".

Specifically, the report alleges that "(…) a large part of the Kremlin’s hostile propaganda is aimed at describing some European countries as belonging to ‘Russia’s traditional sphere of influence’, thereby undermining their sovereignty and deeply rooted European identity, which in the past has been undermined by communist regimes".

It also speaks of "Russian backing of anti-EU forces in the EU with regard, in particular, to extreme-right parties, populist forces and movements that deny the basic values of liberal democracies."

The authors of the resolution insist that one of Russia’s "main strategies is to circulate and impose an alternative narrative, often based on a manipulated interpretation of historical events and aimed at justifying its external actions and geopolitical interests."

Last but not least, Ms. Fotyga claims the Kremlin "(…) wants to present itself as the only defender of traditional Christian values". Her report contains a long enough list of what she believes to be the tools use in "Russian efforts to disrupt the EU integration process", including "think tanks and special foundations (e.g. Russkiy Mir), special authorities (Rossotrudnichestvo), multilingual TV stations (e.g. RT), pseudo news agencies and multimedia services (e.g. Sputnik)," as well as "social media and internet trolls".

The latter label is applied in the West to virtually any internet users who come up with comments in support of Russia’s position.

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