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11.04.2014 | Halya Coynash

Russian channels caught lying

   

Despite the vast amounts Russia is spending on anti-Ukrainian propaganda, the TV channels Rossiya 1 and NTV skimped on actors – and got caught.

Rossiya 1 shows a person they call Andriy Petkov and call him a supporter of federalism who was beaten up by “radicals” from Right Sector supposedly brought into Mykolaiv  by the military. 

NTV shows the same man, even adds a caption with the same name, yet has a quite different story,   Petkov, they claim, was certainly injured, but is himself a “mercenary” who has made a “sensational confession” – that he, a resident of Germany brought 50 people, “all residents of Western Europe” to Ukraine to carry out violent acts.  He himself was the financial go-between who supposedly brought in 500 thousand EUR.  According to the NTV story, he refuses to say who’s behind the “complicated financial deal”.  The news reader then goes on to claim that: “The man who is now in hospital under guard took part in actions on the side of Right Sector.  The basic aim of his group was to injure as many peaceful protesters as possible so that they couldn’t continue their protests”.

The above would be comical if the lies were not so toxic and never-ending.  For a large number of Russian viewers, as well as residents of the Crimea, this is all that they are hearing and there is no reason for them to understand that they are being conned.  The Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned Ukraine’s authorities for banning entry to certain journalists and insisted that all journalists must be “able to report freely and without obstruction on the unfolding events in Ukraine ".  The Committee may well be raising legitimate concerns about journalist freedom, but it is ignoring certain other fundamental issues at play in a situation where the west is largely looking on while Russia engages in open and covert aggression.  After a day or two spent following most Russian TV channels, western media watchdogs might well reconsider their assessment of the role the Russian media is playing with respect to the “unfolding events in Ukraine”. 

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