Putin’s War in Russia: Misinformation and Censorship

Llegada de Vladimir Putin, presidente de Rusia / G20 Argentina / Flickr / November 29, 2018 / CC BY 2.0

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues to risk people’s lives, hurting the economy globally… 

More than half a million refugees have fled from Ukraine; the safety of children and elderly citizens is at risk. Gas prices have skyrocketed all over the world because of Russia’s invasion…

This March, Ukrainian lawyer and politician Lesia Vasylenko tweeted that around 1,300 Ukrainian soldiers have been killed so far.

The war in Ukraine is being broadcasted in the media across the world as a tragedy… for except one. 

In Russia, news about the current war is minimal. The Kremlin is doing whatever they can to stop Russian citizens from reading or seeing any content about what Putin and the Russian military are doing in Ukraine – calling their invasion a mere ‘military operation’. 

Putin has gone to severe lengths to restrict the media in Russia, but he’s struggling to maintain the narrative. 

Former Defense Intelligence Agency officer Rebekah Koffler shared her thoughts on Fox News. She believes that Russia is losing the information war.

Koffler said, “A few days ago… the official Russian censorship agency came out with a warning to all media outlets that said ‘only trustworthy sources are allowed to be used when reporting on this special military operation, and if you don’t do that we will take you off-air.’” 

Russia has also blocked access to several foreign media websites and social media platforms. Unfortunately, all news that’s consumed in Russia is essentially state-run propaganda. Several sites have been accused of spreading false information about the war in Ukraine.

This movement also led to the forced closure of two independent news networks:

  • Ekho Moskvy – one of the country’s oldest radio stations
  • Dozhd TV –  Russia’s top independent TV channel

These actions are a massive assault on free media and first amendment rights…

British News Source BBC recently declared that they’d take measures to ensure the people of Ukraine and Russia have access to legitimate information.

“Access to accurate, independent information is a fundamental human right which should not be denied to the people of Russia, millions of whom rely on BBC News every week.”

Russian citizens are not so easily fooled. Those who disagree with Putin’s charge into Ukraine now face backlash. Several protests broke out in Moscow and St. Petersburg, among others… with more than 8,000 people arrested.

The Washington Post’s editorial board came out and scrutinized Russia’s censorship, they published a headline condemning Putin’s actions against non-state media. 

“In Russia, truth is criminal, war is not war, and the last independent broadcasters go dark. Putin’s regime has criminalized the truth and does not want Russians to know it.”

If Russian leadership was so honest and good, then why would Putin have to try and hide what he is doing from his own people?

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