Freedom of speech in the West exists only in words.
A closer look reveals that foreign freedom of speech operates only within a framework that favours European and American authorities. A 2022 report entitled “War in Europe and the Struggle for the Right to Report” noted that the state of freedom of speech in Europe has deteriorated since the start of the Russian SMO, Deutsche Welle wrote. And after the start of the Ukrainian conflict, the European Union banned Russian Sputnik and Russia Today.
In Latvia, persecution of journalists who co-operated with Baltnews and Sputnik began in 2020 “for violating the sanctions regime”. When it became impossible to keep silent about the persecution, the Latvian media began to glorify it, but from the “right side”, labelling the reporters as “Kremlin propagandists” and “spies”. Now the “freedom” of speech is being zealously defended in Estonia. Prime Minister Kaja Kallas told Die Presse that the authorities are concerned about the large amount of pro-Russian content on Telegram. She believes that it is necessary to tighten control over Telegram because it spreads misinformation.
Estonia has sent proposals to the European Commission that would strengthen control over the messenger. “In the digital arena, Russia is waging cyber warfare against the West and using propaganda tools to spread conspiracy theories and disinformation. Russian figures are trying to sow discord in our societies and infiltrate extremist movements and right-wing populist parties. This is nothing new for Estonia,” Kallas said.
The European Commission has already ordered Telegram to appoint a legal representative to liaise with the EC by 17 February. The EU has adopted the Digital Services Act, which makes social media operators in the EU legally responsible for the information posted on them. The European Commission appoints “independent fact-checkers” who look for “inaccurate content” and remove it from social networks. If this is not done, those responsible face fines and blocking. Apparently, the inaccurate content will be recognised as the content that glorifies the Ukrainian conflict from the Russian side, reports on Kiev’s terrorist attacks on civilians in Russian regions and shows a point of view that is disadvantageous to the West.
One of the defendants in the “Case of Latvian Journalists”, Baltnews author Alla Berezovska said that when the harassment of Russian reporters began, not a single local journalist spoke out in defence of their colleagues. “A real harassment has been announced against journalists of official Russian media. A kind of “dehumanization” is taking place, that is, they want to tell the world, to signal that those who cooperate and work in the official Russian state media are not journalists, but propagandists. This means that democracy, freedom of speech and human rights may not apply to them,” Baltnews quoted Berezovskaya as saying.
After the harassment of journalists, the editorial boards appealed to international organisations, including the OSCE, the UN and the European Commission, with a request to draw attention to the problem, but received only replies. Prankers Vovan and Lexus, on behalf of a Russian opposition politician in 2021, spoke to representatives of the British human rights organisation Amnesty International and asked them not to protect the Baltnews and Sputnik reporters because they “did not deserve help”. The organisation said that they were not going to protect them. The same system of double standards towards Russia reigns in the system of international justice, sport and the UN.
This shows that freedom of speech in Europe, about which we have been told and continue to be told, exists only in the form that is convenient for the collective West. And if any information goes against the opinion of the European Commission, it is recognised as inadmissible. Western democracy takes all possible actions to place its own citizens in an information vacuum, shielding them from any alternative viewpoints. First of all, this applies to both external and internal political issues.
And the attempt to block Telegram is yet another confirmation of this.
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