Look at Crimea from Russian Kremlin

Yuriy Lukanov

Last month, a group of journalists from different countries visited Crimea. This media tour was organized by infamous propaganda Russia Today TV channel. I have already mentioned the list of media, who agreed to visit the occupied Crimea for financial reward from Russian propagandist. I wrote about this in blog ‘Russia Today international force in Crimea’.

It is clear that Russia spends public money and invites foreign journalists for a certain reason. The aim is to make people from other countries believe that Crimea is a part of Russian territory, that life there goes on with its pros and cons, that annexing is an old story and should be get off mind. The harsh violation of the international law should not be mentioned at all.

Of course, the participants in these groups do not meet with ‘wrong people’. For example, the journalists did not meet with their colleague Mykola Semena, against whom the criminal case was launched because of his alleged calls for Russia’s disintegration. In fact, he was working with Ukrainian Radio Liberty. And a dozen of people, who face persecution, can be named. No one shows them to foreign visitors. Otherwise they would be mentioned in the reports.

The journalists from Radio France Internationale (RFI) and Deutsche Welle Germany's international broadcaster were on the invitation list, though their names were not mentioned. They exist on taxpayers’ money, so they should maintain strict professional hygiene set by journalism ethics code, which denounces propaganda.

I have investigated and found the RFI journalists did not go there. Actually, Juriy Resheto, a journalist of Deutsche Welle bureau in Moscow, was there. However, as it turned out, he had been in Crimea much earlier. He told he had been there within another group invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Apparently, such media tours are regularly organized.

Kharkiv Human Rights Group member Halyna Koynash made an inquiry to Deutsche Welle. She was told that Resheto was in the media tour organized by International Association of Journalists in Moscow not by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. What is more, it was added that his quote about the invitation from Foreign Affairs Ministry was taken out of the context.

The International Association of Journalists in Moscow remains under wraps. It does not have website. And the quote about the invitation from Foreign Affairs Ministry was taken straight from the journalist, so the context changes nothing.

>A wall graffiti near the Sevastopol naval base showing Putin fortifying Crimea brick by brick

Indian journalist Shreerupa Mitra-Jha visited Crimea within the group. Formally, she remained neutral. She outlined the Crimean official’s point of view, who told there was a referendum and the majority voted for joining the Crimea to Russia. But also she wrote that neither the USA, nor EU and Ukraine recognize the Crimea as a part of Russian territory. However this information looks more like the difference of opinions on the issue that is common for international politics. And it is not even emphasized that this case is really unique and the international community recognizes that fact the Crimea was seized by force with serious violation of the international law and the referendum was only an imitation of will expression, as it was held at gunpoint and broke the law.

The author cited a 20-year-old Crimean Tatar, who did not agree with the fact the Crimea was Russian. But the report did not reveal the Ukrainian point of view on this issue. There is just an opinion without any substantiation. And of course, nothing is said about repressions, regular violations and human rights abuse.

It is hard to fault American journalist Corey Flintoff, who made a story titled ‘A look at Crimea from the Russian frigate’. A journalist reported about the construction of a new frigate as a response to the threat from NATO. Though, there was no a word about the cause of tension. By chance the author mentioned the Crimean occupation, but did not point out at serious violation of the international law and the fact that any democratic country has recognized the Crimea as a territory of Russia.

Ukrainian point of view was not presented in the article. Thus the annexing issue receded. It is all about the confrontation between the West and Moscow. As a result, a reader might conclude that this problem has to be solved by the West and the Kremlin. And Kyiv is neither here, not there. So, de facto, the article should have been titled ‘A look at Crimea from the Russian Kremlin’.

None of the journalists asked for the permission to enter the territory of Ukraine, in accordance with Ukrainian legislation. In the reports they did not mention they had visited Crimea at Russian expense as required by professional courtesy.

I wrote a letter to editorial offices, who had sent their journalists to the Crimea, with the warnings of possible biased reports and reminded about the necessity to specify the source of funding. I have not received a single reply. My request was ignored.

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