Lidové noviny - Czech Republic | 22/04/2015

Czech commentaries on refugees sickening

A growing number of embarrassing commentaries on the refugee dramas in the Mediterranean are being posted on Czech websites, features editor Jana Machalicka notes in the conservative daily Lidové noviny: "Anyone who reads the discussions under the articles in large newspapers and online portals will think that we're a nation of disgusting, primitive, xenophobic racists. The things that are said with impunity in this public sphere are enough to turn your stomach. On the topic of the deaths in the Mediterranea most commentators agree on one thing: at least that stopped them from making it all the way here. No one asks why we're not ashamed when people welcome the deaths of these desperate people. How would these idiots have liked it if they'd been accused of just wanting to have a share in - and above all to steal - the wealth of the West before 1989? ... A large number of these shameful remarks commit several offences at once. I shudder at the idea of having such fellow citizens." (22/04/2015)

Tvnet - Latvia | 17/04/2015

Latvia's Russian TV doomed to fail

Latvia plans to set up its own TV station for its Russian-speaking population. But the current concept is all wrong, Galina Timchenko, who was sacked as chief editor of the news site and then founded the online newspaper, writes on the web portal Tvnet: "Right now it looks like the new TV broadcaster will deal only with social and political issues. But the public doesn't just want to hear about politics every day. It's willing to hear a little about politics between good shows. A state-run Russian-language TV channel in the Baltic states is a waste of money and won't have any impact. Kremlin-critical TV professionals from Russia who have lost their jobs should do the local journalism for such channels. If the programmes differed from the entertainment from Russia they could actually make an impact." (17/04/2015)

Lietuvos rytas - Lithuania | 16/04/2015

Broadcast ban futile against Kremlin propaganda

The broadcasts of the Russian-language television network RTR Planeta were blocked for three months in Lithuania on Monday. That's no way to protect the country from Russian propaganda, the liberal daily Lietuvos rytas believes: "These bans are supposed to serve as a key protective measure against Russia's 'hybrid aggression', and to hinder the information war focussing on the weakest elements of society, in particular the minorities. ... In fact many Poles and Russians in Lithuania (and according to surveys also many Lithuanians) take a similar view of the situation in Ukraine, of the West and of the Lithuanian state and its position as the Kremlin propagandists do. ... Why? Is it not because these social classes are the weakest economically and socially? ... Putting an end to this exclusion would be the most effective way to protect and strengthen our country against disinformation and ideological threats from abroad." (16/04/2015)

Delo - Slovenia | 16/04/2015

Investigative journalism must be protected

The Slovenian prosecutor's office on Wednesday retracted its charges against the investigative journalist Anuška Delić for lack of evidence. In 2011 she had reported for the left-liberal daily Delo on alleged connections between a neo-Nazi group and members of ex-prime minister Janez Janša's SDS party, and was then accused of publishing classified state intelligence. Delić is not guilty, Delo now stresses: "The prosecution should at least have borne in mind one achievement of modern European civilisation. In democratic countries, journalists are not persecuted for revealing confidential information that is of relevance to the public. Ever. ... Now that this matter is settled, we - who have a good insight into Delić's work - can once again assert that the published articles were not written with the help of classified documents belonging to the Slovenian Intelligence and Security Agency. They are the result of investigative work." (16/04/2015)

Delfi - Lithuania | 13/04/2015

Russian propaganda is not news

The Lithuanian Radio and Television Commission last week decided to suspend the broadcasts of Russian-language network RTR Planeta for three months on the grounds that it had incited unrest and hatred. The suspension comes into effect today, Monday. Web portal Delfi supports the measure: "False reports of Ukrainian violence against the peaceful inhabitants of the Donetsk region would seem incomprehensible or even ridiculous to a person whose mind hasn't been poisoned by Russian propaganda. ... The claim that the people of a free country can think for themselves and distinguish between the truth and lies is only valid in a media landscape in which independent journalists can publish differing opinions and versions of events and compete against each other. The aggressive propaganda of our neighbour is not news." (13/04/2015)

Diena - Latvia | 07/04/2015

Loyal Russians sought for new TV programme

After Latvia's National Electronic Media Council gave its approval for a new Russian-language TV station the liberal daily Diena wonders who will be responsible for programming: "The founders of the Russian-language channel no doubt assume that somewhere in Latvia there are dozens of journalists with a good knowledge of Russian who don't support Russia's imperial foreign policy. And if we don't already have such 'good Russians', well then, we'll just have to raise them. But what should these good Russians look like? Is it enough for them to know the official language and acknowledge the [Soviet] occupation of 1940? And what if they view May 9 and the capitulation of Nazi Germany to the Soviet Union as a day of victory? What if they're against the annexation of Crimea but are sceptical about Western sanctions against Russia? Is that all right, or isn't it? ... At the end of the day, the new TV station will be in the crossfire of political debate." (07/04/2015)

Eesti Päevaleht - Estonia | 07/04/2015

Nicknames show what Finns think of Estonians

In the wake of public protests, the Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat stopped an online survey on the weekend aimed at finding the best nickname for Estonians. But in fact the campaign was interesting, the liberal daily Eesti Päevaleht counters: "Was this survey by Helsingin Sanomat - that was to culminate in May with the publication of the best nickname - worth all the fuss? Yes, the paper crossed a line in matters of good taste. ... It's one thing to report on what nicknames are used. But it's another thing altogether to actively participate in creating stereotypes. ... It's good that the paper has put an end to the survey and apologised. But at the same time it would be a pity if folklorists were put off by this. Because in fact the collected nicknames provide interesting information about how the Finns view us." (07/04/2015)

Latvijas Sabiedriskie mediji - Latvia | 31/03/2015

New station no silver bullet against Kremlin TV

Latvia's National Electronic Media Council has given the go-ahead for a Russian-language TV programme, in a bid to provide an alternative to Russian media that obey the wishes of the Kremlin. Media expert Anda Rožkalne criticises the plans on the web portal of the public broadcaster LSM: "The new Russian channel will have to fight hard for its target audience, because there's no way the Russophone population will immediately shift their allegiances to the new station. ... It's silly to see the new channel as some sort of magical light-sabre at the mere brandishing of which Latvia's Russian-speaking population will be turned into passionate fans. ... It is irresponsible to exploit such a project of the public broadcaster for a short-term campaign, and to look for quick fixes for a problem that's been neglected for years." (31/03/2015)

Delfi - Lithuania | 31/03/2015

Russians conceal their historical crimes

Two newly released Russian propaganda films "I, Russian Occupier" and "I'm Tired of Saying Sorry" simply go too far, British journalist Edward Lucas fumes on the web portal Delfi: "The first film shows the advantages of the Soviet administration in the Baltic states, Ukraine and Central Asia (for the most part dealing with industry). ... The other recalls Russia's military and cultural achievements, and points the finger at crimes committed by Europe's colonial powers. ... But what is left out of these films is even more upsetting than what they contain. Putin's propagandists conceal the fact that the Russians were also pioneers in the fight against freedom and human dignity. ... Today's Russia ignores historic facts and gets annoyed when anyone dares to bring them up. The victims [of Soviet rule] have good reason to be upset. And maybe that's exactly what Moscow wants." (31/03/2015)

Webcafé - Bulgaria | 28/03/2015

Dangerous flood of information after crash

The unfiltered flood of information about the pilot of the crashed Germanwings aircraft Andreas Lubitz illustrates the careless attitude to the private sphere in the age of the Internet, the web portal Webcafé writes: "We live in times when we are all potential culprits. Information is so easily accessible that no one takes the time to deal with rational arguments that lack scandalous aspects. With a click we found the Facebook profile of Lubitz's brother, who with another click erased it. Then we found Lubitz's pilot licence and took a virtual tour outside his parents' home. The Internet has left us naked and thrown us to the wolves. And there's no turning back. ... This raises the question: How should we deal with unchecked information? Should we public the names of the victims and perpetrators of tragedies and attacks or not?" (28/03/2015)

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