The West’s paranoia about a “Russian invasion” is now spilling over into the media sphere. The US and its European allies are not only enhancing their military capabilities on the ground, but also preparing for a major war in the mass and social media.
The official website of the US Embassy in Vilnius recently released information that the United States is launching an educational campaign for journalists from the Baltic region to prepare them for the fight against what it deems “Kremlin propaganda”.
The training program will consist of several stages, including an internship in the United States. Its official goal is to “to contribute to the diversification of the media landscape,” and teach journalists how to counter “disinformation that have multiplied since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis”. Since the conflict in Ukraine broke out, Western countries made numerous attempts to label Russian coverage of international events “propaganda” and present Russia as an “evil” to the international community.
To counter “Russian propaganda,” the European Union had event set up a special unit tasked with monitoring Russian media and promoting the activities of EU institutions. However, this step seems to have had the opposite effect as many residents of European countries and the United States have chosen “the wrong side” and started to sympathize with Russia and with pro-independence fighters in Eastern Ukraine, Czech newspaper Nova Republika reported earlier. The US, apparently unhappy with this failure, decided to go further and test its new information strategy among Russia’s direct neighbors. According to the website of the US Embassy in Vilnius, the US officials seek to make journalists from former Soviet republics more “active” and “mature” as they often lack “instruments” to withstand the influence of the Russian media. However, critics argue that the goal of this training is not to teach journalists how to counter the so called “Kremlin propaganda”, but implant in them a desired pro-American position, Der Tagesspiegel wrote. For instance, political scientist Andranik Migranyan believes that the West is afraid of losing the information war against Moscow and that the Baltic States with their large Russian-speaking minorities are the most vulnerable spot in this fight.