April 15, 2024

Columbus Post

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Ukraine war: SRF report misused by Russian state TV


Russian State TelevisionHow Russia Reconsiders SRF Contributions to Campaign

Russia ranks 165 out of 181 in the press freedom rankings, so it's no surprise that the country uses contributions from Western media for propaganda purposes.

Leticia Vecchio

The SRF report was re-edited for Russian propaganda purposes in the program “60 Minutes”: Russian presenter Olga Skapezheva hosted the program on the state television station Rossiya-1.

Video: SRF, “10 to 10”, February 21, 2024

  • Russia deliberately reproduces Western media reports to legitimize itself.

  • For example, in one SRF report, the Russians commented on the war in Ukraine.

  • Russian state television aired the report in a highly condensed form and allowed only positive voices to be heard.

In his article, SRF special correspondent Christoph Franzen actually looked for different opinions on what people in Russia thought about the war. It is surprising that some of them face severe punishments for this in their own country. They speak against “a war sent to massacre people” or say that fear is deeply rooted in Russian society.

However, the misappropriated report on Russian state television had none of this. Here it is said that Franzen came to Russia to show how “barbaric, stupid and drunk” everyone there was. Instead, he met “friendly, hardworking and, above all, patriotic people.” Of course all this was for the war against Ukraine. One of the respondents, Pyotr Fedin, says in the article: “Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, we are one nation. And we parted.”

Embassies scan foreign media

Fedin actually told this to SRF reporter Franzen, so the Russian state TV package isn't lying. However, even though there was enough in the original article, not a single critical voice was heard in the article. “Shades of gray, my critical comments and sometimes even important questions are missing. “Everything was cut,” said SRF journalist Franzen. He learned from acquaintances in Russia that his contribution was being reused for Russian propaganda purposes.

Ulrich Schmidt, professor of East European studies at the University of St. Gallen, is not surprised by any of this. Because even if Russia deliberately propagates the narrative of the evil West, it also depends on its assumed – or simply constructed – approval. David Nauer, SRF correspondent for Russia and Ukraine, is already familiar with this practice. Russian embassies abroad would then scan the Western media and report interesting reports to Moscow: “Depending on the situation, this could be used for Russian propaganda.”

Russia will elect a president in March – but only for appearances

Keyword Propaganda: Here the Kremlin uses all means to appear in a good image. From March 15 to 17, presidential elections in Russia will be held over three days for the first time in the country's history. It was a sham election (no other opposition members were allowed to vote), but that's why the regime is pushing to legitimize itself. “Many want the war to end. “If a Swiss TV report comes to the same conclusions as Russian propaganda, it supports Putin's position,” says Schmidt, an East Europe expert.

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