23:16 GMT27 May 2020
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    EU Parliament Adopts Resolution Equating Sputnik, RT to Daesh Propaganda (82)

    On Wednesday, the European Parliament approved a resolution equating the need to counteract Sputnik and RT with resistance to Daesh propaganda. Since then, a host of alternative media voices from around the world have come out to support the right of Russian media to present its point of view. Latin American journalists were no exception.

    In a vote of 304 to 179, with 208 lawmakers abstaining, the European Union's Parliament adopted a resolution which claims that Russian foreign language media and non-state actors like Daesh and other terrorist groups were essentially equally dangerous sources of disinformation and propaganda, both posing a threat to Europe's unity and its democratic values.

    The bill specifically cited the Sputnik News Agency and the RT television news network as media threats.

    Speaking to Sputnik, Latin American journalists and media figures voiced their concern with the resolution, saying that they saw it as little more than an attack on media freedom and the freedom of speech. Maria Jose Braga, president of Brazil's National Federation of Journalists (FENAJ) said as much, telling Sputnik that the EU parliament's resolution is an open attack on the freedom of media, and against media workers.

    What Braga found most concerning was the implicit suggestion, outlined in the text of the resolution, that Russian media could be equated to terrorists. "When media are equated with terrorist organizations, their journalists become terrorists," she complained. "We believe that all organizations worldwide specializing in the protection of journalists should express their position on this issue," Braga noted.

    For her part, Victoria Alfaro, president of the Uruguayan Press Association, also condemned the European lawmakers' decision. "It's strange that this resolution is directed against media outlets whose position is fundamentally different from the opinions which we are used to seeing in other media," she said. "Because these media outlets broadcast to huge audiences, one gets the sense that we are talking about censorship."

    Raul Kollmann, a well-known columnist for the Argentinian daily newspaper Pagina, told Sputnik that he too had no doubt in his mind that this was a press freedom issue. "At a time when the mainstream media repeat what governments and multinational companies say, the voices that say the opposite  -which see the world in a different way, are often silenced."

    "Countries, Russia included, have every right to have their voices heard," Kollmann stressed. "If this right is secured only by the so-called free market…this could end up only strengthening lies and falsehoods, such as the [famous fabrications about] weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, or the concealment of human rights violations in Guantanamo Bay and other illegal prisons."

    Alberto Lopez Girondo, international editor at Argentina's Tiempo newspaper, also came out in defense of Russian foreign-language media. Unfortunately, he said, "Europeans prefer it that voices in the world which called their actions into question were not heard."

    "Any opinions which point out the fact of Western countries' support for terrorist organizations – these are the voices that cause the most concern for Europe, since they explain what European [politicians] are really doing," Girondo noted. For example, "if they claim to be the victims of waves of immigration, who was it that actually provoked it?"

    Finally, Samuel Blixen, a prominent journalist and associate professor at the University of Uruguay, told Sputnik that he found the accusation made in the European Parliament's resolution against Russian media simply "shameful."

    EU lawmakers' decision was unacceptable, Blixen stressed, because "these political operations impinge on media which by [Europe's] own criteria are transparent." Accordingly, the journalist suggested that instead of equating Russian media with Daesh, observers should instead consider the EU parliament's resolution as "state terrorism." 

    "It is bordering on the absurd when a body like the European Parliament issues such a declaration against media which broadcasts around the world," Blixen noted.

    EU Parliament Adopts Resolution Equating Sputnik, RT to Daesh Propaganda (82)


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