Matthias Platzeck, former head of the German Social Democrats, former Minister-President of the German State Brandenburg and today head of the German-Russian Forum, has stated it clearly in an interview with Deutschlandfunk (19 October 2016): The danger of a war with Russia has not been so strong for a long time. Threats and sanctions against Russia have not had any positive effect. On the contrary, during the past three years relations with Russia have deteriorated continuously. The situation is “more dramatic than in the past 25 or 26 years”.
Matthias Platzeck’s statement came a few hours before a meeting of the presidents of France, Russia and Ukraine with the German Chancellor. And he added that he found it “very prudent and far-sighted” that the European Union had refrained from imposing extended sanctions on Russia a few days ago. Angela Merkel had invited for the meeting in Berlin and every reasonable person could only hope that there would be ways towards a diplomatic solution in the escalating conflict with Russia.
But this would include allowing for a bit more truth in dealing with Russia’s politics in the past three years and also with our own Western politics since 1990. This, however, is still lacking in the leading German media. Instead, voices not matching with these media are strongly denounced (“conspiracy theory”) and suppressed – with the main goal to discredit all voices trying to critically examine the politics of the United States, the NATO states and the EU and to outline Russia’s politics balanced and in accordance with the facts and to present these voices as controlled by the Russian President.
Not only the media are playing this game. The initiative came from the US Congress. Public EU and German institutions have eagerly joined in this campaign. Only a few days ago (4 October 2016) the public German TV station ZDF has broadcasted a role model for this course of action, the 45 minute programme “Putin’s secret network. How Russia is splitting the West.”
Willy Wimmer, who has been a Christian Democratic MP in the German Bundestag for 30 years and Undersecretary in the German Defence Ministry in the critical years around 1990, recently has repeatedly emphasised that the German leading media have lost all their plurality in issues of foreign and security politics. This diagnosis is leading to the question how far away Germany is from a democracy and an open, pluralistic society.
Having in mind that most citizens do not have the chance to verify the media products which they get served daily, one can imagine the devastating effect of the permanent twisting of facts and propaganda. In fact, any news, any report, any coverage, any commentary, wherever they may come from, should be cross-checked thoroughly.
In the past three years I have looked deeply into what is going on in Ukraine and today I have to state that the list of untruths and one-sided reporting is very long. Anyone going to the depth of the reports can conclude that hardly any are correct. There is no need to use the term “Lügenpresse” to provoke thoughts.
The same is true for the conflict in Syria. The goal is to manipulate us and to steer us in a certain direction – a direction that can lead us and the world towards the abyss of a nuclear inferno. This cannot be what we want.
There are also excellent books available regarding all these questions. One of the latest has been written by the Swiss historian and peace researcher Daniele Ganser: “Illegale Kriege” (Illegal wars. How NATO countries are sabotaging the UN. A chronicle from Cuba to Syria.) I would like such a book to be read in all our schools. Spreading the truth is an essential task. Only the truth can give peace a chance. •
km. In October 2016, the news website https://swisspropaganda.wordpress.com published a study consisting of 21 pages (pdf format) about Swiss Radio and Tele-vision’s (SRF) news coverage on 20 September 2016, only a few hours after news of the attack on a UN and Syrian-Arabian Red Crescent aid convoy first were made public. The study is titled “Geopolitical propaganda in the public broadcasting service: An analysis exemplified by Swiss Radio and Television” and can be found at https://swisspropaganda.wordpress.com/srf-propaganda-analyse/.
There, the study’s results are described to be “alarming: In all of the examined SRF news contributions, techniques of propagandism and manipulation could be found at every level – be it editorial, linguistic or audio-visual. The division of speaking time to just one of the debating parties, the intransparent use of third party sources, omission of context, tendentious wording, unproven statements and suggestions, manipulative edits of film material and inaccurate translations are examples of these techniques”. Furthermore, the study states that “all of the manipulation techniques used were unilaterally beneficial to the conflict party of US/Nato. As a whole, it must be said that broadcasting by Swiss radio and television was one-sided, selective and uncritical”.
These statements are comprehensively well-documented by the study.
On its last three pages, the study compares SRF’s broadcasting to that of Second German Television (ZDF) and comes to a similar conclusion there: “All in all, it is true that for ZDF the same use of propaganda techniques favouring the conflict party USA/Nato can be detected. Especially in the categories of manipulative processing of film material, manipulative translations, manipulative use of background music as well as the idealisation of the conflict party USA/Nato, ZDF’s propagandistic manipulation exeeds that of SRF.”
(Translation Current Concerns)
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