07:20 GMT19 September 2020
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    A Swedish security government agency accused Russia of waging information warfare against other countries using media tools.

    According to the Swedish Security Service (SAPO), a government agency under the Ministry of Justice, the Russian government is working to manipulate public opinion in Sweden and hinder political decision-making. To succeed in its "devious" plan, Moscow is using media agencies, such as RT and Sputnik.

    "In addition to Russian intelligence and security services, we see that in recent years Russian media and news agencies with large resources are being used as the loyal tool of the Central state administration," a SAPO document released on Thursday said.

    "These media companies work both in and outside of Russia. Among them are RT and Sputnik," the document said.

    According to SAPO chief analyst Wilhelm Unge, following the Ukrainian crisis Russia decided to expand its tools of influence on other countries. Now the Russian government is using not only its military, political, economic and diplomatic measures, but also its media instruments.

    Unge believes that the Russian government is employing the army of online trolls to flood comment sections of news websites and social media. The SAPO analyst said the work of Russian trolls is "well-coordinated."

    According to Unge, by making Russian media talk about disagreements among EU members, Moscow hopes to put an end to the anti-Russian sanctions.

    This isn't the first time SAPO has made baseless accusations against Russia. Last year, Sweden's security agency said Moscow was conducting large-scale spy operations in Sweden, while a third of Russian diplomats are disguised spies who were sent to the country to gather intelligence.

    Meanwhile, US Senators Rob Portman and Chris Murphy introduced a new bill to the Senate on Wednesday to counter alleged Russian propaganda. The Countering Foreign Propaganda and Disinformation Act prioritizes three areas, including creating government agencies to "expose and counter" foreign propaganda, as well as engaging the private sector and local communities in the effort.

    Last fall, the European Union's External Action Service launched a task force to counter perceived Russian propaganda.

    In turn, Russia has repeatedly said that Western and other foreign media outlets deliberately distort information regarding Russia, including its counterterrorist campaign in Syria, doping allegations in sports and many foreign policy initiatives.    


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    Russian propaganda, information warfare, Swedish Security Service Säpo, Sputnik, RT, Wilhelm Unge, Sweden, Russia
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