EU Bans 4 Additional Russian Propaganda Outlets

EU Bans 4 Additional Russian Propaganda Outlets

The European Union has intensified its efforts to curb Russian propaganda by suspending the broadcasting of four more Russian media outlets within its member states. The decision, announced on 17 May 2024 by the Council of the European Union, targets Voice of Europe, RIA Novosti, Izvestia, and Rossiyskaya Gazeta.

According to the EU Council’s press service, these media outlets are under constant direct or indirect control of the Russian Federation’s leadership. The EU has emphasised their significant role in supporting Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine and destabilising neighbouring countries.

Despite the broadcasting ban, the EU Council clarified that the measures, in line with the Charter of Fundamental Rights, do not prevent these media organisations and their employees from conducting other activities within the EU, such as research and interviews.

Manipulation and Propaganda Campaign

The Russian Federation has been conducting a systematic international campaign of media manipulation, interference, and gross distortion of facts to justify and support its full-scale aggression against Ukraine. This campaign is also aimed at destabilising neighbouring countries, the EU, and its member states.

Russian propaganda, information manipulation, and interference have been consistently directed against Ukrainian authorities and citizens, European political parties, particularly during election periods, as well as civil society, asylum seekers, ethnic Russian minorities, gender minorities, and the functioning of democratic institutions within the EU and its member states.

Previous Actions and Sanctions

There had been earlier reports suggesting that the European Commission intended to include Voice of Europe in the sanctions list.

In March, Czech intelligence services reported that the site was used to spread anti-Ukrainian propaganda and disinformation under the direction of Viktor Medvedchuk, who is under sanctions imposed by the Czech Republic.

Rossiyskaya Gazeta, the official print publication of the Russian government, saw one of its staff expelled from Bulgaria last autumn. The expulsion came with a ban on entering the EU, with the Bulgarian government stating that the reasons were unrelated to journalistic activities.

Historical Context

This recent action builds on previous measures taken by the EU against Russian media.

In 2022 the EU Council banned the operations of Russian broadcasters RT  and Sputnik

In 2022 the EU Council banned the operations of Russian broadcasters RT and Sputnik

In early March 2022, the EU Council swiftly banned the operations of Russian state-controlled broadcasters RT (formerly Russia Today) and Sputnik within the EU.

Implications and Reactions

The EU’s continued crackdown on Russian media outlets underscores the bloc’s commitment to combating disinformation and protecting the integrity of information within its borders. This latest ban is likely to exacerbate tensions between the EU and Russia, adding to the existing strain caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the subsequent international response.

The targeted media outlets have been instrumental in disseminating narratives that align with the Kremlin’s geopolitical objectives, often portraying a distorted version of events in Ukraine and other regions of interest to Russian strategic goals.

Main image: © DR

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